OBJECTIVE: To review the body of evidence on cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, and physical performance in children with newly diagnosed cancer, five databases (MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, CENTRAL, and Web of Science) were searched on December 19, 2022.
METHODS: Thirteen studies, embodying 594 participants within 1 month of cancer diagnosis and 3674 healthy controls were included. Eighteen different outcomes on cardiorespiratory fitness (n = 2), muscle strength (n = 5), physical performance (n = 10), and adverse events (n = 1) were analyzed.
RESULTS: Fifteen out of 17 outcomes on physical capacity showed severe impairments compared with healthy controls. Where possible, random-effects meta-analysis was conducted to synthesize the results. No adverse events were reported related to testing.
CONCLUSION: Children with cancer have impaired cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, and physical performance within the first month after diagnosis. However, the evidence is based on a small number of studies with large clinical heterogeneity, limiting the certainty of evidence.