Qigong/Tai Chi Easy for fatigue in breast cancer survivors: Rationale and design of a randomized clinical trial

Linda Larkey, Jennifer Huberty, Maja Pedersen, Karen Weihs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction Breast cancer survivors (BCSs) often report fatigue that persists for years following treatment. Despite a growing body of evidence for meditative movement practices to improve symptoms among BCSs, few studies have explored using Qigong/Tai Chi to reduce fatigue. Additionally, few have examined the biological mechanisms through which fatigue may be reduced using Qigong/Tai Chi. Methods/study design We will recruit 250 fatigued, post-menopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer (stage 0-III), between 6 months and 5 years past primary treatment and randomize to a standardized Qigong/Tai Chi Easy (QG/TCE) intervention, a “sham” Qigong group (movements without a focus on the breath and meditative state) (SQG), or an educational support (ES) group. The primary outcome (fatigue), secondary outcomes (anxiety, depression, sleep quality, cognitive function, physical activity), and a biomarker of HPA axis dysregulation (diurnal cortisol) will be assessed at baseline, post-intervention and 6 months postintervention, and biomarkers of inflammation (IL1ra, IL6, TNFα and INFᵧ) at pre/post-intervention. We hypothesize that QG/TCE will reduce fatigue (and improve other symptoms associated with fatigue) in BCSs experiencing persistent cancer-related fatigue more than SQG and ES. Biomarkers will be examined for relationships to changes in fatigue. Conclusions Findings from this study may reveal the effects of the unique mind-body aspects of QG/TCE on fatigue in BCSs with a complex design that separates the effects of low-intensity physical activity (SQG) and social support/attention (ES) from the primary intervention. Further, results will likely contribute greater understanding of the biological mechanisms of these practices related to improved symptoms among BCSs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-228
Number of pages7
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast neoplasm
  • Fatigue
  • Qigong
  • Survivor symptoms
  • Tai Chi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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