Table 1

Characteristics of included studies

MethodsParticipantsInterventionRelevant outcomesRisk of bias
Dronkers et al 23 Randomised study investigating the preoperative effect of an exercise programme in participants with colon cancer.Exercise group, n=22Age: 71.1±6.3Gender: 15 male, 7 femaleControl group, n=20Age: 68.8±6.4Gender: 16 male, 4 femaleSupervised programme 2×week for 2–4 weeks (mean 5.1±1.9) and home-based programme of walking or cycling for a minimum of 30 min per day (perceived exertion of 11–13 Borg Scale).Programme:
  • Warm up.

  • Resistance training of the lower limb extensors—equipment and method not stated (maximum of 1 set of 8–15 repetitions at 60%–80% of the one repetition maximum).

  • Inspiratory muscle training (10%–60% max inspiratory pressure for 240 breathing cycles.

  • Aerobic training—method and equipment not stated (55%–75% max HR or perceived exertion of 11–13 Borg Scale for 20–30 min).

  • Functional activities according to patients’ capabilities and interests (Vreede et al,28 regimen—no other information provided).

Timed Up and GoChair rise timePhysical Activity QuestionnaireAbbreviated Fatigue QuestionnaireEORTC QLQ-C30 Global Health/Functional Scale/Symptom ScalePEDro score 8/11GRADE criteria—moderate
Ahn et al 24 Randomised study investigating the effect of a postsurgical, inpatient exercise programme in patients with stages I–III colon cancer.Exercise group, n=17Age: 55.61±7.11Gender: 12 male, 5 femaleControl group, n=14Age: 57.43±6.12Gender: 5 male, 9 femaleSupervised exercise programme 2×day, 15 min/sessionSubdivided into three phases:
  1. Implemented while subjects were still unable to get out of bed: stretching (neck, shoulder, wrist, ankle and pelvis), pelvic tilt—isometric, resistance exercise (ankle dorsiflexion and plantar flexion against the hand of the therapist), unsupervised sitting or walking in the ward.

  2. Performed once subjects were able to get out of the bed, but had limited ambulation: stretching (whole body, leg and shoulder), pelvic tilt and thrust, one leg raise, crunch, resistance exercise (1 set, 10 repetitions) with 1 lb weight (chest, shoulder, arm, thigh and calf), unsupervised walking.

  3. Performed when subjects were able to ambulate without any discomfort; in addition to phase 2 exercises, resistance strengthening increased to 12 repetition×3 sets, supervised balance exercises—one leg standing, one leg calf raise, hip adduction, hip abduction, hip flexion with knee bent, hip extension, unsupervised walking.

Timed one-leg standSit-to-stand in 30 sTecumseh step testPEDro score 8/11GRADE criteria—moderate
  • EORTC QLQ-C30, European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire; GRADE, Grading for Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation; HR, heart rate; PEDro, Physiotherapy Evidence Database.