Research Topic

Physical Activity and Nutritional Strategies to Counteract the Off-target Effects of Cancer Therapies

About this Research Topic

Cancer therapy side effects can range from pain and nausea to impaired concentration and depression; some are so severe that they have been identified as a major health problem themselves. Further, these side effects often lead to discontinued or de-escalated use preventing the patient from realizing the full benefits of the anti-cancer therapy. While many acute toxicities can be adequately managed during cancer therapy (e.g., neutropenia, nausea, vomiting) and will resolve once therapy has been completed, there are side effects that persist after completion of therapy and for which there are no effective management strategies. These can include fatigue, cachexia, and cardiotoxicity. There is a critical and unmet need to develop strategies to manage these debilitating and even life threating symptoms.

Identifying strategies to reduce side effects of cancer therapies is critical. The importance of evidence-based complementary medicine modalities that may be integrated as part of standard cancer care for all patients across the cancer continuum has been increasingly recognized. Indeed, experimental evidence indicates that physical activity and dietary interventions can influence the response to cancer therapy. For instance, physical activity has been reported to reduce fatigue following cancer treatment and increased quality of life has been documented in cancer patients engaged in exercise during and after treatment. Exercise may also help prepare patients for cancer surgery in prehabilitation settings. Similarly, dietary strategies have been documented to improve exercise tolerance and prevent cachexia in pre-clinical studies of cancer and cancer therapy. However, there remains a dearth of evidence in this area that has precluded success in the clinic. This is largely due to the lack of rigorous and controlled studies regarding the efficacy of complementary therapies (i.e., natural dietary compounds and physical activity modalities) in treating the off-target effects of cancer therapies. Therefore, the goal of this call is to promote the development of strong data on physical activity and dietary strategies to counteract the off-target effects of cancer therapies.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):
• Use of physical activity or nutritional interventions to counteract off-target effects of cancer treatments
• Synergistic effects of physical activity or nutritional strategies on cancer therapy efficacy
• Use of physical activity or nutritional interventions to counteract cachexia associated with cancer or its therapies
• Amelioration of cancer/cancer therapy related fatigue by physical activity or dietary strategies
• Prevention of cardiotoxicity associated with cancer treatments using physical activity or dietary strategies
• Physical activity and dietary strategies to improve the immune profile during cancer therapy

E. Angela Murphy is currently a co-owner (30%) of a small start-up company (founded in 2017) that is investigating natural compounds and drugs for their anti-cancer effects. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic subject.


Keywords: Physical Activity, Nutrition, Cancer, Cancer Therapy, Side Effects


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Cancer therapy side effects can range from pain and nausea to impaired concentration and depression; some are so severe that they have been identified as a major health problem themselves. Further, these side effects often lead to discontinued or de-escalated use preventing the patient from realizing the full benefits of the anti-cancer therapy. While many acute toxicities can be adequately managed during cancer therapy (e.g., neutropenia, nausea, vomiting) and will resolve once therapy has been completed, there are side effects that persist after completion of therapy and for which there are no effective management strategies. These can include fatigue, cachexia, and cardiotoxicity. There is a critical and unmet need to develop strategies to manage these debilitating and even life threating symptoms.

Identifying strategies to reduce side effects of cancer therapies is critical. The importance of evidence-based complementary medicine modalities that may be integrated as part of standard cancer care for all patients across the cancer continuum has been increasingly recognized. Indeed, experimental evidence indicates that physical activity and dietary interventions can influence the response to cancer therapy. For instance, physical activity has been reported to reduce fatigue following cancer treatment and increased quality of life has been documented in cancer patients engaged in exercise during and after treatment. Exercise may also help prepare patients for cancer surgery in prehabilitation settings. Similarly, dietary strategies have been documented to improve exercise tolerance and prevent cachexia in pre-clinical studies of cancer and cancer therapy. However, there remains a dearth of evidence in this area that has precluded success in the clinic. This is largely due to the lack of rigorous and controlled studies regarding the efficacy of complementary therapies (i.e., natural dietary compounds and physical activity modalities) in treating the off-target effects of cancer therapies. Therefore, the goal of this call is to promote the development of strong data on physical activity and dietary strategies to counteract the off-target effects of cancer therapies.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):
• Use of physical activity or nutritional interventions to counteract off-target effects of cancer treatments
• Synergistic effects of physical activity or nutritional strategies on cancer therapy efficacy
• Use of physical activity or nutritional interventions to counteract cachexia associated with cancer or its therapies
• Amelioration of cancer/cancer therapy related fatigue by physical activity or dietary strategies
• Prevention of cardiotoxicity associated with cancer treatments using physical activity or dietary strategies
• Physical activity and dietary strategies to improve the immune profile during cancer therapy

E. Angela Murphy is currently a co-owner (30%) of a small start-up company (founded in 2017) that is investigating natural compounds and drugs for their anti-cancer effects. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic subject.


Keywords: Physical Activity, Nutrition, Cancer, Cancer Therapy, Side Effects


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

05 November 2021 Abstract
10 February 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

05 November 2021 Abstract
10 February 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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