Acute inflammatory response to low-, moderate- and high-load resistance exercise in women with breast cancer-related lymphoedema

Cormie, Prue, Singh, Ben, Hayes, Sandra C., Peake, Jonathan, Galvão, Daniel A., Taafe, Dennis, Spry, Nigel, Nosaka, Kazunori, Cornish, Bruce, Schmitz, Kathryn H., & Newton, Robert (2016) Acute inflammatory response to low-, moderate- and high-load resistance exercise in women with breast cancer-related lymphoedema. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 15(3), pp. 308-317.

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  • Resistance exercise is emerging as a potential adjunct therapy to aid in the management of breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL). However, the mechanisms underlying the relationships between the acute and long-term benefits of resistance exercise on BCRL are not well understood. Purpose. To examine the acute inflammatory response to upper-body resistance exercise in women with BCRL and to compare these effects between resistance exercises involving low-, moderate- and high-loads. The impact on lymphoedema status and associated symptoms was also compared.


  • Twenty-one women aged 62 ± 10 years with mild to severe BCRL participated in the study. Participants completed a low-load (15-20 repetition maximum), moderate-load (10-12 repetition maximum) and high-load (6-8 repetition maximum) exercise sessions consisting of three sets of six upper-body resistance exercises. Sessions were completed in a randomized order separated by a seven to 10 day wash-out period. Venous blood samples were obtained to assess markers of exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation (creatine kinase [CK], C-reactive protein [CRP], interleukin-6 [IL-6] and tumour necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-α]). Lymphoedema status was assessed using bioimpedance spectroscopy and arm circumferences, and associated symptoms were assessed using visual analogue scales (VAS) for pain, heaviness and tightness. Measurements were conducted before and 24 hours after the exercise sessions.


  • No significant changes in CK, CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α were observed following the low-, moderate- or high-load resistance exercise sessions. There were no significant changes in arm swelling or symptom severity scores across the three resistance exercise conditions.


  • The magnitude of acute exercise-induced inflammation following upper-body resistance exercise in women with BCRL does not vary between resistance exercise loads. Given these observations, moderate- to high-load resistance training is recommended for this patient population as these loads prompt superior physiological and functional benefits.

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ID Code: 87626
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: lymphoedema, resistance exercise, weight training, inflammation, breast cancer
DOI: 10.1177/1534735415617283
ISSN: 1552-695X
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 SAGE Publications
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2015 22:24
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2016 07:37

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