Physical performance limitations in adolescent and adult survivors of childhood cancer and their siblings

Rueegg, Corina S.; Michel, Gisela; Wengenroth, Laura; von der Weid, Nicolas X.; Bergstraesser, Eva; Kuehni, Claudia E.; Swiss Paediatric Oncology Group, SPOG (2012). Physical performance limitations in adolescent and adult survivors of childhood cancer and their siblings. PLoS ONE, 7(10), e47944. Lawrence, Kans.: Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0047944

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This study investigates physical performance limitations for sports and daily activities in recently diagnosed childhood cancer survivors and siblings.

The Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor Study sent a questionnaire to all survivors (≥16 years) registered in the Swiss Childhood Cancer Registry, who survived >5 years and were diagnosed 1976–2003 aged <16 years. Siblings received similar questionnaires. We assessed two types of physical performance limitations: 1) limitations in sports; 2) limitations in daily activities (using SF-36 physical function score). We compared results between survivors diagnosed before and after 1990 and determined predictors for both types of limitations by multivariable logistic regression.

The sample included 1038 survivors and 534 siblings. Overall, 96 survivors (9.5%) and 7 siblings (1.1%) reported a limitation in sports (Odds ratio 5.5, 95%CI 2.9-10.4, p<0.001), mainly caused by musculoskeletal and neurological problems. Findings were even more pronounced for children diagnosed more recently (OR 4.8, CI 2.4–9.6 and 8.3, CI 3.7–18.8 for those diagnosed <1990 and ≥1990, respectively; p = 0.025). Mean physical function score for limitations in daily activities was 49.6 (CI 48.9–50.4) in survivors and 53.1 (CI 52.5–53.7) in siblings (p<0.001). Again, differences tended to be larger in children diagnosed more recently. Survivors of bone tumors, CNS tumors and retinoblastoma and children treated with radiotherapy were most strongly affected.

Survivors of childhood cancer, even those diagnosed recently and treated with modern protocols, remain at high risk for physical performance limitations. Treatment and follow-up care should include tailored interventions to mitigate these late effects in high-risk patients.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Rüegg, Corina Silvia; Michel, Gisela; Wengenroth, Laura and Kühni, Claudia




Public Library of Science




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:35

Last Modified:

16 Nov 2015 09:48

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:




URI: (FactScience: 220713)

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