Protocol for the "Chemobrain in Motion - study" (CIM - study) : a randomized placebo-controlled trial of the impact of a high-intensity interval endurance training on cancer related cognitive impairments in women with breast cancer receiving first-line chemotherapy

  • Background: Up to 80% of breast cancer patients suffer from Cancer Related Cognitive Impairments (CRCI). Exercise is suggested as a potential supportive care option to reduce cognitive decline in cancer patients. This study will investigate the effects of a high-intensity interval endurance training (HIIT) on CRCI in breast cancer patients. Potentially underlying immunological and neurobiological mechanisms, as well as effects on patients’ self-perceived cognitive functioning and common cancer related side-effects, will be explored. Methods: A single-blinded randomized controlled trial will be carried out. The impact of HIIT on CRCI will be compared to that of a placebo-intervention (supervised myofascial release training). Both interventions will be conducted simultaneously with the patients’ first-line chemotherapy treatment typically lasting 12–18 weeks. Fifty-nine women with breast cancer will be included in each of the two groups. The study is powered to detect (α = .05, β = .2) a medium effect size difference between the two groups (d = .5) in terms of patients’ change in cognitive testing performances, from baseline until the end of the exercise-intervention. The cognitive test battery, recommended by the International Cancer and Cognition Task Force to assess CRCI, will be used as primary measure. This includes the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (learning/verbal memory), the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (verbal fluency) and the Trail-Making-Test A/B (attention/set-switching). The following endpoints will be assessed as secondary measures: Go-/No-Go test performance (response inhibition), self-perceived cognitive functioning, serum levels of pro- and antiinflammatory markers (tumor necrosis factor alpha, Interleukin-6, Interleukin-1 alpha, Interleukin-1 beta, C-reactive protein, Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist and Interleukin-10), serum levels of neurotrophic and growth factors (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, insulin-like growth factor 1 and vascular endothelial growth factor), as well as common cancer-related side effects (decrease in physical capacity, fatigue, anxiety and depression, sleep disturbances, quality of life and chemotherapy compliance). Discussion: This study will provide data on the question whether HIIT is an effective supportive therapy that alleviates CRCI in breast cancer patients. Moreover, the present study will help shed light on the underlying mechanisms of potential CRCI improving effects of exercise in breast cancer patients. Trial registration:, German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS), ID: DRKS00011390, Registered on 17 January 2018.
Author:Max Oberste, Nils Schaffrath, Katharina Schmidt, Wilhelm Bloch, Elke Jäger, Karen Steindorf, Philipp Hartig, Niklas Joisten, Philipp Zimmer
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):BMC cancer
Publisher:BioMed Central ; Springer
Place of publication:London ; Berlin ; Heidelberg
Contributor(s):Rozeta Levkovska
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/11/06
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/12/11
Tag:Breast cancer; Cancer; Chemobrain; Cognition; Exercise; High-intensity interval endurance training
Issue:1, Art. 1071
Page Number:14
First Page:1
Last Page:14
Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Sportwissenschaften
Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0