A study looking at a walking programme during chemoradiotherapy for rectal cancer (REx)

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

Cancer type:

Bowel (colorectal) cancer
Rectal cancer





This study is to see if a walking programme is helpful for people with rectal cancer. It is for people who have recently been diagnosed with cancer of the rectum Open a glossary item who are having chemotherapy and radiotherapy (chemoradiotherapy Open a glossary item) before surgery.

More about this trial

Exercise can improve quality of life Open a glossary item and reduce tiredness in people with cancer. So doctors advise them to keep as fit as possible during and after treatment.

In this study, researchers are looking at a walking programme that people with rectal cancer can do from home while they are having chemoradiotherapy.

The aims of the study are to find out

Who can enter

You may be able to join this study if all of the following apply. You

  • Have recently been diagnosed with rectal cancer
  • Are due to have chemoradiotherapy Open a glossary item before surgery to treat your cancer
  • Are at least 18 years old

You cannot join this study if any of these apply.

  • You have already had treatment for rectal cancer
  • The walking programme is too easy for your level of physical
  • You have had any other type of cancer in the past
  • You have any other serious medical condition or mental health problem which means the study team don’t think you should take part

Trial design

This is a pilot study. The researchers need 80 people to take part. It is randomised. The people taking part are put into 1 of 2 groups at random. Neither you nor your doctor will be able to decide which group you are in.

People in one group take part in the walking programme. This is called the intervention group. People in the other group do not take part in the programme. This is called the control group.

REx study diagram

If you are in the control group, the researchers will ask you to continue with your usual physical activity.

If you are in the intervention group, your walking programme begins when you start chemoradiotherapy and finishes in the weeks before you have surgery to remove your cancer. The walking programme will last for about 4 months in total.

The study team plan a walking programme suitable for your level of fitness. They count the number of steps you walk each week with a small device called a pedometer. This is strapped onto your clothes.

The aim is to increase the number of steps you walk each week. You can ask a friend or relative to be your walking partner to help motivate you. The researchers will ask you to keep a diary to record of the number of steps you walk each day. And a research nurse will phone you every 2 weeks to see how you are getting on.

The researchers will ask everybody taking part to fill out 2 questionnaires before you have chemoradiotherapy, when you finish the walking programme  and before you have surgery. The questionnaires will ask about side effects and how you’ve been feeling. This is called a quality of life study.

Hospital visits

You see the study team and have some tests before you can take part in the study. These include

  • A test to see how far you can walk in 6 minutes
  • A test to check your muscle strength

They will repeat the tests before your surgery. They will ask everybody taking part to wear a small device called an accelerometer for 7 days

  • Before chemoradiotherapy starts
  • When the walking programme is finished

This is to measure your usual level of activity.

Side effects

The researchers don’t think that the walking involved will cause you any problems.

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

Miss Susan Moug

Supported by

Chief Scientist Office (CSO)
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


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

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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