BEATE - Study

Physical Activity and Progressive Muscle Relaxation as Adjuvant Treatment against Cancer-related Fatigue (“Bewegung und Entspannung als Therapie gegen Erschöpfung”)

In cooperation with the Women’s Hospital of the University Clinic of Heidelberg and the Institute of Sports and Sports Science of the University Heidelberg.


Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Karen Steindorf, Prof. Dr. Andreas Schneeweiß
Co-Principal Investigators: Dr. Martina Schmidt, Prof. Dr. Cornelia Ulrich, Dr. Joachim Wiskemann



Cancer-Related Fatigue (CRF) is a multidimensional syndrome which occurs in the majority of cancer patients during anticancer treatment and potentially persists for many years after cure. Because of its multidimensionality, CRF is influenced by physical, psychological and also social factors. Summarized by an article of the Cochrane Collaboration, exercise is a promising intervention for the treatment of CRF in breast cancer patients, but nearly all studies in this field examined the effect of exercise against treatment-as-usual, mostly in group settings. Therefore, it is currently unknown if the beneficial effects are related to the physical training itself or caused by group-related psychosocial effects.

The BEATE-Study was designed to evaluate the potential benefits of an exercise program beyond group-related psychosocial effects and to evaluate potential biologic mechanisms.
BEATE is a randomized controlled clinical trial, aimed to evaluate the effect of a high intensity, supervised and group-based resistance training on CRF in breast cancer patients during adjuvant chemotherapy, compared with a Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) program.

All participants were requested to fill out standardized questionnaires concerning fatigue, quality of life and depression. In addition, physical performance (endurance and strength capacity), activity history and cognitive capacity were assessed. Furthermore, blood, urine and saliva samples will be collected for multiple biomarker analyses. Data collection was performed at begin of the study (baseline), week 7, week 13 and week 26.  The interventions (2x/week, 24 sessions) started after baseline assessment and ended at week 12. Randomization (allocation in two groups “exercise” and “relaxing”) was performed by a PC program.

Current status

Recruitment has begun in March 2010 and was completed in June 2013 with 101 patients.


Prof. Dr. Karen Steindorf
Phone: +49 6221-422351 oder -565838

Dr. Martina Schmidt
Phone: +49 6221-422220


Klassen O, Schmidt ME, Ulrich CM, Schneeweiss A, Potthoff K, Steindorf K, Wiskemann J (2017). Muscle strength in breast cancer patients receiving different treatment regimes. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle 8:305-316.

Buffart, LM, Kalter J, Sweegers MG, Courneya KS, Newton RU, Aaronson NK, Jacobsen PB, May AM, Galvão DA, Chinapaw MJ, Steindorf K, Irwin ML, Stuiver MM, Hayes S, Griffith KA, Lucia A, Mesters I, van Weert E, Knoop H, Goedendorp M, Mutrie N, Daley AJ, McConnachie A, Bohus M, Thorsen L, Schulz K-H, Short CE, James EL, Plotnikoff RC, Arbane G, Schmidt ME, Potthoff K, van Beurden M, Oldenburg HS, Sonke GS, van Harten W, Garrod R, Schmitz KH, Winters KM, Velthuis MJ, Taaffe DR, van Mechelen W, Kersten M-J, Nollet F, Wenzel J, Wiskemann J, Verdonck-de Leeuw IM, Brug J: Effects and moderators of exercise on quality of life and physical function in patients with cancer: an individual patient data metaanalysis of 34 RCTs. Cancer Treat Rev; 52:91-104

Schmidt ME, Wiskemann J, Ulrich CM, Schneeweiss A, Steindorf K (2017). Self-reported physical activity behavior of breast cancer survivors during and after adjuvant therapy: 12 months follow-up of two randomized exercise intervention trials. Acta Oncol 56:618-627

Schmidt ME, Wiskemann J, Schneeweiss A, Potthoff K, Ulrich CM, Steindorf K (2017). Courses and determinants of physical, affective, and cognitive fatigue during breast cancer therapy and 12 months follow-up. Int J Cancer.

van Vulpen JK, Schmidt ME, Velthuis MJ, Wiskemann J, Schneeweiss A, Vermeulen RCH, Habermann N, Ulrich CM, Peeters PHM, van der Wall E, May AM, Steindorf K (2017). Effects of physical exercise on markers of inflammation in breast cancer patients during adjuvant chemotherapy. Breast Cancer Res Treat.

Klassen O, Schmidt ME, Ulrich CM, Potthoff K, Steindorf K, Wiskemann J. Muscle strength in breast cancer patients undergoing adjuvant therapy (accepted by J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle, Oct 2016)

Schmidt ME, Semik J, Habermann N, Wiskemann J, Ulrich CM, Steindorf K (2016): Cancer-related fatigue shows a stable association with diurnal cortisol dysregulation in breast cancer patients. Brain Behavior and Immunity 52:98-105 (Epub 0ct 2015)

Scharhag-R F, Kühl R, Klassen O, Schommer K, Schmidt ME, Wiskemann J, Steindorf K (2015): Exercise training intensity prescription in breast cancer survivors: validity of current practice and specific recommendations. J Cancer Surviv, 9:612-9. [Epub Feb 2015]

Schmidt ME, Wiskemann J, Armbrust P, Schneeweiss A, Ulrich CM, Steindorf K (2015): Effects of resistance exercise on fatigue and quality of life in breast cancer patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy: a randomized controlled trial. Int J cancer, 137:471-80 [Epub Dec 2014]

Klassen O, Schmidt ME, Scharhag-Rosenberger F, Sorkin M, Ulrich CM, Schneeweiss A, Potthoff K, Steindorf K, Wiskemann J (2014): Cardiorespiratory fitness in breast cancer patients undergoing adjuvant therapy. Acta Oncol. May 16:1-10.

Schmidt ME, Wiskemann J, Krakowski-Roosen H, Knicker A, Habermann N, Schneeweiss A, Ulrich N, Steindorf K(2013): Progressive resistance versus relaxation training for breast cancer patients during adjuvant chemotherapy: Design and rationale of a randomized clinical trial (BEATE study). Contemporary Clinical Trials, 34, 117-125

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