A study looking at the role of exercise in people with lung or digestive system cancer who have weight and muscle loss

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Bowel (colorectal) cancer
Lung cancer
Oesophageal cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Stomach cancer





Researchers in this study are looking to understand more about exercise in people with cancer related weight and muscle loss (cachexia), so they can design suitable exercises to help people in the future.

Regular exercise is important in keeping up physical strength and independence. In the early stages of cancer it can improve how we function each day, and improve quality of life. But it is when people are feeling less well and have lost weight that being able to do daily activities and stay independent becomes difficult. This may be due to loss of muscle strength and balance, which may improve with exercise training.  

But before researchers can recommend exercise to people who are less well and less active, they need to know more about how strength, balance and daily activities are affected over time. And, to understand what makes people exercise, and the type they prefer. This will help them design practical and safe exercises for people to use in future. They will ask questions of people with cachexia, and measure their muscle strength and balance.

You will not get any direct benefit from taking part in this study, and it is unlikely to change you treatment plan in any way. But the results of the study will be used to help people with cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this study if you have one of the following cancers

And you

  • Have noticed that you have lost at least a twentieth (5%) of your total body weight in the last 6 months or you have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 20, and you have lost any amount of weight in the last 6 months
  • Are at least 18 years of age

You cannot enter this study if you have any muscle, bone or nerve disorders that would affect how you move or balance – for example you have Parkinson’s disease, or you have had a stroke Open a glossary item.

Trial design

This study will recruit 200 people. There are 2 parts to this study. The team may ask you to join either or both.

Everyone will answer some questions for the study about their medical history.

Part 1 is a study of muscle strength and balance. You will have three 40 minutes sessions, 4 weeks apart. During each session you will

  • Stand on a balance machine and move as the research team member asks you to
  • Sit in a chair and pull and push your legs against a fixed device
  • Stand up from a chair, walk 3 metres, turn around, walk back and sit down
  • Walk 10 metres on a flat surface at your own pace, using any aids you usually use

If you join part 2, you will complete a questionnaire asking about

  • What type of exercise you have done in the past
  • What limits your day to day activities now
  • How you have managed with your current illness and how you keep control of things
  • How you feel physically and mentally
  • What you think about your ability to exercise and what type of exercise might work best

Throughout the study, you also continue to be cared for by your usual specialist team.

Hospital visits

For part 1 of the study, you can either have the sessions for measuring muscle strength and balance at your hospital or at home, depending on what suits you best.

If you are in part 2 of the study, you complete the questionnaire at a routine hospital appointment.

Side effects

You may feel tired for a short time after completing the exercises or the questionnaire. The team do not expect that there will be any risks to you from taking part in this study.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Anthony Byrne

Supported by

Cardiff University
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
National Institute of Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 8595

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

A picture of Wendy

"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

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