Rehabilitation interventions to improve patient-reported outcomes and physical fitness in survivors of muscle invasive bladder cancer: a systematic review protocol

Survivors of muscle invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) experience physical and psychosocial side effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment. These negative side effects have a crucial impact on their health-related quality of life (HRQoL). To date, there is evidence that rehabilitation interventions such as physical activity and psychosocial support have a positive effect on the HRQoL of cancer survivors. Unfortunately, there are no specific guidelines for rehabilitation or survivorship programmes for MIBC survivors. Therefore, this systematic review aims to assess the effects of exercise-based and psychosocial rehabilitation interventions in MIBC survivors.

The approach of this review is consistent with the Cochrane methodology. Randomized controlled trials and non-randomised studies will be included. The population of interest is patients (≥18 years of age) with diagnosis of MIBC or high-risk non-MIBC for whom a radical cystectomy is indicated. There will be two eligible intervention types for inclusion: exercise-based and psychosocial rehabilitation interventions. The primary outcome measures are patient-reported outcomes (eg, HRQoL, fatigue and pain) and physical fitness. Studies will be identified independently by two review authors by searching the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science and the Physiotherapy Evidence Database. A third reviewer will be asked by disagreements. Risk of bias will be assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration tool and the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Data will be summarised descriptively. If homogeneity of the studies is sufficient, meta-analysis will be undertaken. The broad scope of this review (ie, different interventions and study designs) is needed to have a comprehensive view on effective rehabilitation interventions.

Ethics approval is not required, as no primary data will be collected. Results will be disseminated through a peer-reviewed publication.

BMJ open. 2017 Jun 06*** epublish ***

Elke Rammant, Renée Bultijnck, Nora Sundahl, Piet Ost, Nele S Pauwels, Benedicte Deforche, Ronny Pieters, Karel Decaestecker, Valérie Fonteyne

Department of Radiation Oncology and Experimental Cancer Research, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium., Knowledge Center Ghent, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium., Department of Public Health, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium., Department of Urology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.