The Wessex Fit-4-Cancer Surgery Trial (WesFit): a protocol for a factorial-design, pragmatic randomised-controlled trial investigating the effects of a multi-modal prehabilitation programme in patients undergoing elective major intra-cavity cancer surgery.

West M; Bates A; Grimmett C; Allen C; Green R; Hawkins L; Moyses H; Leggett S; Levett D; Rickard S;
Varkonyi-Sepp J; Williams F; Wootton S; Hayes M; Grocott M; Jack S;

F1000Research [F1000Res] 2021 Sep 21; Vol. 10, pp. 952.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2021 Sep 21 (Print Publication: 2021).

Background: Surgical resection remains the primary curative treatment for intra-cavity cancer. Low physical fitness and psychological factors such as depression are predictive of post-operative morbidity, mortality and length of hospital stay. Prolonged post-operative morbidity is associated with persistently elevated risk of premature death. We aim to investigate whether a structured, responsive exercise training programme, a psychological support programme or combined exercise and psychological support, delivered between treatment decision and major intra-cavity surgery for cancer, can reduce length of hospital stay, compared with standard care.
Methods: WesFit is a pragmatic , 2×2 factorial-design, multi-centre, randomised-controlled trial, with planned recruitment of N=1560. Participants will be randomised to one of four groups. Group 1 (control) will receive usual pre-operative care, Group 2 (exercise) patients will undergo 2/3 aerobic, high-intensity interval training sessions per week supervised by personal trainers. Group 3 (psychological support) patients are offered 1 session per week at a local cancer support centre. Group 4 will receive both exercise and psychological support. All patients undergo baseline and pre-operative cardiopulmonary exercise testing, complete self-report questionnaires and will be followed up at 30 days, 12 weeks and 12 months post-operatively. Primary outcome is post-operative length-of-stay. Secondary outcomes include disability-adjusted survival at 1-year postoperatively, post-operative morbidity, and health-related quality of life. Exploratory investigations include objectively measured changes in physical fitness assessed by cardiopulmonary exercise test, disease-free and overall mortality at 1-year postoperatively, longer-term physical activity behaviour change, pre-operative radiological tumour regression, pathological tumour regression, pre and post-operative body composition analysis, health economics analysis and nutritional characterisation and its relationship to post-operative outcome.
Conclusions: The WesFit trial will be the first randomised controlled study investigating whether an exercise training programme +/- psychological intervention results in improvements in clinical and patient reported outcomes in patients undergoing major inter-cavity resection of cancer.