RATIONALE: Exercise may decrease anemia-related fatigue, improve strength, and build up lost
muscle tissue. Epoetin alfa may help improve cancer-related anemia, energy levels, and
quality of life. Exercise plus epoetin alfa may be effective treatment for anemia-related
PURPOSE: Phase II trial to study the effectiveness of exercise plus epoetin alfa in treating
cancer patients who have anemia-related fatigue.
OBJECTIVES: I. Determine the effect of progressive resistance training and epoetin alfa on
lean body mass, fatigue, exercise tolerance, functional capacity, and total body weight in
cancer patients with anemia related fatigue.
OUTLINE: Patients undergo progressive resistance training (PRT) consisting of 3 sets of 8
repetitions of concentric (lifting) and eccentric (lowering) exercises over 4-6 seconds each
using bench press, arm pull, knee extension, knee flexion, and double leg press followed by
1-2 minutes of rest between sets. Patients undergo warm up and cool down periods over 10
minutes prior to and following PRT. Patients perform PRT 3 times a week for 12 weeks.
Patients also receive epoetin alfa subcutaneously once weekly over 4-12 weeks in the absence
of unacceptable toxicity.
PROJECTED ACCRUAL: A total of 30 patients will be accrued for this study over 15 months.
DISEASE CHARACTERISTICS: Diagnosis of nonmyeloid malignancy with cancer related fatigue
Anemia (hemoglobin less than 10 g/dL) No clinical or radiographic evidence of lytic bone
PATIENT CHARACTERISTICS: Age: Over 18 Performance status: ECOG 0-2 Life expectancy:
Greater than 4 months Hematopoietic: See Disease Characteristics Hepatic: Not specified
Renal: Not specified Other: No dementia or evidence of mental incompetence No physical
handicap precluding aerobic or resistance exercise No clinical abnormality that would
render exercise a risk HIV negative No contraindications to epoetin alfa Not pregnant or
nursing Negative pregnancy test
PRIOR CONCURRENT THERAPY: Biologic therapy: At least 8 weeks since prior epoetin alfa
Chemotherapy: Concurrent chemotherapy allowed Endocrine therapy: Not specified
Radiotherapy: Concurrent radiotherapy allowed Surgery: Not specified Other: Concurrent
anticancer therapy allowed At least 1 month since prior strength training of greater than
3 hours a week