Is Qigong effective in reducing fatigue and distress among senior prostate cancer survivors, as compared to stretching classes?
Date of publication of the randomized controlled trial: March 2014
Design
Randomized controlled trial (RCT).
Participants
40 fatigued and sedentary prostate cancer survivors aged 55 years or older (mean age: 72 years in treatment group, 73 years in control group).
Intervention
Qigong exercise classes were provided with duration of 60 min, 2 days per week for 12 weeks. Each class included a 5-min meditative focus on the breath, followed by sitting exercises, then standing movements, and ended with a final 5 min meditative focus on the breath. Participants were encouraged home-based practice and not to begin other new physical activities during the study.
Comparator
Comparison: Qigong versus nonaerobic stretching classes.
Major Outcomes
Outcome 1: Reduction in fatigue as measured by the FACIT-Fatigue scale at 1-week post-intervention. Higher scores indicated less fatigue;
Outcome 2: Reduction in distress as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18) at 1-week post-intervention. Lower scores indicated lower distress.
Settings
This trial was performed in an outpatient setting.
Comparison    Qigong versus nonaerobic stretching classes
Main Results
Compared to nonaerobic stretching classes, Qigong showed significant reduction of fatigue by increasing the scores of the FACIT-Fatigue scale (median: 5.0, p=0.02). Besides, Qigong showed reduction of distress by reducing the scores of BSI-18 (median: -6.5, p=0.09). However, the difference between Qigong and nonaerobic stretching classes for distress was statistically insignificant.
Comparison: Qigong versus nonaerobic stretching classes in senior prostate cancer survivors at 1-week post-intervention
Outcomes No. of studies (Total no. of participants) Median/ No. of participants Heterogeneity test (I2) MD (95% CI) p value Overall quality of evidence*
Intervention Comparator
1 1 (29) 5.0/ 16 0/ 13 Not applicable as there is only 1 study. Not reported 0.02 Low
2 1 (29) -6.5/ 16 0.0/ 13 Not applicable as there is only 1 study. Not reported 0.09 Low
Keys: MD = mean difference; CI = confidence interval.
Comparison    Qigong versus nonaerobic stretching classes
Main Results
Compared to nonaerobic stretching classes, Qigong showed significant reduction of fatigue by increasing the scores of the FACIT-Fatigue scale (median: 5.0, p=0.02). Besides, Qigong showed reduction of distress by reducing the scores of BSI-18 (median: -6.5, p=0.09). However, the difference between Qigong and nonaerobic stretching classes for distress was statistically insignificant.
Comparison: Qigong versus nonaerobic stretching classes in senior prostate cancer survivors at 1-week post-intervention
Outcomes 1 2
No. of studies (Total no. of participants) 1 (29) 1 (29)
Median/ No. of participants Intervention 5.0/ 16 -6.5/ 16
Comparator 0/ 13 0.0/ 13
MD (95% CI) Not reported Not reported
p value 0.02 0.09
Overall quality of evidence* Low Low
Keys: MD = mean difference; CI = confidence interval.
Conclusion
Benefits
Compared to nonaerobic stretching classes, patients practicing Qigong showed significant reduction in fatigue by increasing the scores of the FACIT-Fatigue scale. Besides, Qigong showed reduction in distress by lowering the scores of BSI-18. However, the difference between Qigong and nonaerobic stretching classes for distress was statistically insignificant. For all outcomes, the overall quality of evidence is low. Further research is likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
Harms
No adverse events were reported in this trial.
Link to Original Article
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24170679
The synopsis is based on the following article:
Campo RA, Agarwal N, LaStayo PC, O'Connor K, Pappas L, Boucher KM, et al. Levels of fatigue and distress in senior prostate cancer survivors enrolled in a 12-week randomized controlled trial of Qigong. J Cancer Surviv. 2014 Mar; 8(1):60-9.


* Interpretation of quality assessment results:
• Very low: Further research is most likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• Low: Further research is likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• Moderate: Further research is fairly likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• High: Further research is unlikely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• Very high: Further research is most unlikely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.

Details of assessment method can be found at Chung VC, Wu XY, Ziea ET, Ng BF, Wong SY, Wu JC. Assessing internal validity of clinical evidence on effectiveness of CHinese and integrative medicine: Proposed framework for a CHinese and Integrative Medicine Evidence RAting System (CHIMERAS). European Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2015 Aug 31;7(4):332-41.