Published: 17-10-2022 14:55 | Updated: 19-10-2022 10:28

The Neo-ACT Trial - can physical exercise enhance the effect of chemotherapy against breast cancer?

Approximately 9,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Sweden, a number that has been steadily increasing since the 1990s. However, the prognosis for breast cancer has improved, more and more women can now be cured with a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and medical treatment.

Jana de Boniface, researcher at the Breast Surgery Research group at MMK
Jana de Boniface, foto: Peter Knutson

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) is increasingly used in breast cancer. The best proof of NACT efficacy is pathological complete response (pCR), i.e. the absence of invasive tumour on post-NACT on surgical histopathology.

"While it is known that physical exercise can help patients to better tolerate often harsh cancer treatments, it is an emerging area of research to understand if and how exercise exerts anti-tumour effects and improves oncological outcomes", says Jana de Boniface, principal investigator of the trial and associate professor in the Breast Surgery Group, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery.

The Neo-ACT trial opened for recruitment in September 2022, and it is estimated that inclusion may be completed in December 2025.

The Neo-ACT trial is funded by the Swedish Research Council.


Physical exercise during neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer as a mean to increase pathological complete response rates: Trial protocol of the randomized Neo-ACT trial.
de Boniface J, Altena R, Haddad Ringborg C, Bolam KA, Wengström Y
PLoS One 2022 ;17(10):e0274804