A wearable fitness tracker can be used to quantify physical activity in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients and may predict treatment toxicity, according to study data published in JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics.

The study prospectively included 80 patients with CRC who had undergone either chemotherapy (40 patients) or surgery (40 patients) and had to wear a Fitbit load for 4 days at the start of the study – defined as the start of a new chemotherapy (± 2 weeks) or earlier for curative resection – and during aftercare. Follow-up was carried out 4 weeks (± 2 weeks) after the first assessment in the chemotherapy cohort and after postoperative discharge in the surgical group.

The study met its primary feasibility endpoint, which was defined as 75% of patients who wore the tracker for at least 12 hours per day for at least 3 of the 4 days they were asked to wear the tracker.

Overall, 85% of patients wore their tracker for longer than the required time, 91% of patients said it was “easy” to wear, and 86% said the tracker “does not interfere with daily activity”.

Further analysis revealed that patients with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status of 0 had more steps per day than patients with a Performance Status of 1 (6313 steps versus 2925 steps; P = 0.0003).

Although patients who took more than 5000 steps per day had a lower toxicity of interest than patients who did not take 5000 steps per day (21% versus 32%), the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.31). .

The study’s authors wrote that their results illustrate the value of steps per day as a “complement” to performance status assessment and as a “potential tool” for predicting toxicities regardless of the type of therapy used to treat the disease.

Information: Some of the study’s authors reported financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry and / or the medical device industry. For a full list of information, see the original study.


Ward WH, Meeker CR, Handorf E. et al. Feasibility of using fitness trackers to assess activity levels and toxicity in patients with colon cancer. JCO Clin Cancer Inform. 2021; 5: 125-133. doi: 10.1200 / CCI.20.00117


Colon cancer
Gastrointestinal cancer