World Cancer Research Fund grant: The ECHO trial

Prof Sandi Hayes, is excited to announce ihop’s current ECHO trial has received funding from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International for further expansion. The ECHO trial evaluates the effects of an exercise intervention during first-line chemotherapy for ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is the most common cause of gynaecological cancer death, with an overall 5-year relative survival of only 43%.  Treatment for ovarian cancer typically involves extensive surgery and high-dose chemotherapy with adverse side effects impacting physical wellbeing, function and quality of life.

Exercise is now considered an effective treatment in its own right and an important part of overall management of a number of cancers. It improves short-term outcomes during chemotherapy (eg. function, fatigue and quality of life) in breast, colorectal, and haematological cancers, and may assist patients to receive the planned dose of chemotherapy without delay or dose modifications. There is also preliminary data to suggest exercise can improve survival following breast cancer.

The ECHO randomised controlled trial will allow us to test the effects of exercise during ovarian cancer chemotherapy with outcomes of interest including physical wellbeing; chemotherapy-related adverse events and adherence; physical function; quality of life; health resource use; and progression-free survival.

The ECHO trial received start-up funding from Cancer Australia and Cancer Council Australia, which allowed researchers to recruit the first 80 women in the trial. This WCRF grant will allow us to expand the recruitment and intervention delivery for a further 250 women.

If you would like more information about participating in the trial contact the principal investigator of the trial Prof Sandi Hayes,

Women who wish to participate need to be 18 years of age or over, be newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and scheduled for chemotherapy. The exercise intervention, to be delivered by accredited exercise physiologists, will span the duration of chemotherapy (approximately 18 weeks) and involve the individual prescription of aerobic- and resistance-based exercise at moderate-intensity, accumulating 150+ minutes per week. The control arm will be usual care alone.