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Article of the week: Immediate versus delayed exercise in men initiating ADT

Every week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community, and a video produced by the authors. These are intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Immediate versus delayed exercise in men initiating androgen deprivation: effects on bone density and soft tissue composition

Dennis R. Taaffe*†‡, Daniel A. Galvão*, Nigel Spry*§¶, David Joseph***Suzanne K. Chambers*††‡‡§§, Robert A. Gardiner*¶¶***, Dickon Hayne†††‡‡‡Prue Cormie§§§, David H.K. Shum††¶¶¶and Robert U. Newton*†‡****


*Exercise Medicine Research Institute, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, §Genesis CancerCare, Joondalup, Faculty of Medicine, University of Western Australia, **Department of Radiation Oncology, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia, ††Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Gold Coast, ‡‡Centre for Research in Cancer, Cancer Council, Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, §§Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, ¶¶Department of Urology, Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital, ***University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, †††UWA Medical School, University of Western Australia, Crawley, ‡‡‡Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch, Western Australia, §§§Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, ¶¶¶Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, and ****Institute of Human Performance, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China




To examine whether it is more efficacious to commence exercise medicine in men with prostate cancer at the onset of androgen‐deprivation therapy (ADT) rather than later on during treatment to preserve bone and soft‐tissue composition, as ADT results in adverse effects including: reduced bone mineral density (BMD), loss of muscle mass, and increased fat mass (FM).

Patients and methods

In all, 104 patients with prostate cancer, aged 48–84 years initiating ADT, were randomised to immediate exercise (IMEX, n = 54) or delayed exercise (DEL, n = 50) conditions. The former consisted of 6 months of supervised resistance/aerobic/impact exercise and the latter comprised 6 months of usual care followed by 6 months of the identical exercise programme. Regional and whole body BMD, lean mass (LM), whole body FM and trunk FM, and appendicular skeletal muscle (ASM) were assessed by dual X‐ray absorptiometry, and muscle density by peripheral quantitative computed tomography at baseline, and at 6 and 12 months.


There was a significant time effect (P < 0.001) for whole body, spine and hip BMD with a progressive loss in the IMEX and DEL groups, although lumbar spine BMD was largely preserved in the IMEX group at 6 months compared with the DEL group (−0.4% vs −1.6%). LM, ASM, and muscle density were preserved in the IMEX group at 6 months, declined in the DEL group at 6 months (−1.4% to −2.5%) and then recovered at 12 months after training. FM and trunk FM increased (P < 0.001) over the 12‐month period in the IMEX (7.8% and 4.5%, respectively) and DEL groups (6.5% and 4.3%, respectively).


Commencing exercise at the onset of ADT preserves lumbar spine BMD, muscle mass, and muscle density. To avoid treatment‐related adverse musculoskeletal effects, exercise medicine should be prescribed and commenced at the onset of ADT.


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