Purpose : To summarize and review the methodological quality of the evidence from trials examining the effectiveness of physical exercise in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (Allo-HSCT).
Methods : Six randomized clinical trials (RCTs) were identified, reviewed for substantive results, and assessed for methodological quality.
Results : Six trials met all methodological criteria on the modified Jadad score above 3 out of 5 points. Failure to blind the outcome assessor, and failure to describe the method of blinding of outcome assessor appropriately were the most prevalent methodological shortcomings. Various exercise modalities have been applied, differing in content, frequency, intensity, and duration. Positive results have been observed in part for a diverse set of outcomes, including physical and psychological performance.
Conclusion : The trials reviewed in this study were of moderate methodological quality. They suggest that exercise in patients undergoing Allo-HSCT may be safe and feasible, and in part patients benefit from increased physical performance both during and after transplantation. Future RCTs should use larger samples, appropriate comparison groups, and a standard of outcome measures, and examine what kind of exercise intervention (aerobic vs. resistance vs. combined) is the most effective for Allo-HSCT patients. It would be necessary to define contraindication for exercise to guarantee its safety.