Feasibility of Fitness Tracker Usage to Assess Activity Level and Toxicities in Patients With Colorectal Cancer

William H. Ward, Caitlin R. Meeker, Elizabeth Handorf, Maureen V. Hill, Margret Einarson, R. Katherine Alpaugh, Thomas L. Holden, Igor Astsaturov, Crystal S. Denlinger, Michael J. Hall, Sanjay S. Reddy, Elin R. Sigurdson, Efrat Dotan, Matthew Zibelman, Joshua E. Meyer, Jeffrey M. Farma, Namrata Vijayvergia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Performance status (PS) is a subjective assessment of patients’ overall health. Quantification of physical activity using a wearable tracker (Fitbit Charge [FC]) may provide an objective measure of patient’s overall PS and treatment tolerance. MATERIALS AND METHODS Patients with colorectal cancer were prospectively enrolled into two cohorts (medical and surgical) and asked to wear FC for 4 days at baseline (start of new chemotherapy [6 4 weeks] or prior to curative resection) and follow-up (4 weeks [6 2 weeks] after initial assessment in medical and postoperative discharge in surgical cohort). Primary end point was feasibility, defined as 75% of patients wearing FC for at least 12 hours/d, 3 of 4 assigned days. Mean steps per day (SPD) were correlated with toxicities of interest (postoperative complication or ≥ grade 3 toxicity). A cutoff of 5,000 SPD was selected to compare outcomes. RESULTS Eighty patients were accrued over 3 years with 55% males and a median age of 59.5 years. Feasibility end point was met with 68 patients (85%) wearing FC more than predefined duration and majority (91%) finding its use acceptable. The mean SPD count for patients with PS 0 was 6,313, and for those with PS 1, it was 2,925 (122 and 54 active minutes, respectively) (P = .0003). Occurrence of toxicity of interest was lower among patients with SPD . 5,000 (7 of 33, 21%) compared with those with SPD, 5,000 (14 of 43, 32%), although not significant (P = .31). CONCLUSION Assessment of physical activity with FC is feasible in patients with colorectal cancer and well-accepted. SPD may serve as an adjunct to PS assessment and a possible tool to help predict toxicities, regardless of type of therapy. Future studies incorporating FC can standardize patient assessment and help identify vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-133
Number of pages9
JournalJCO clinical cancer informatics
StatePublished - 2021


  • Colorectal Neoplasms/surgery
  • Exercise
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Fitness Trackers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications


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