Childhood cancer survivors are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO) is a major determinant of cardiovascular morbidity. The aim of this study was to compare aerobic capacity, measured by cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET), of adolescents and young adults in remission with that of healthy controls and to identify the predictors of aerobic capacity in this population.
This is a controlled cross-sectional study.
A total of 477 subjects (77 in remission and 400 controls), aged from 6 to 25 years, were included, with a mean delay between end of treatment and CPET of 2.9 ± 2.3 years in the remission group. In this group, the mean VO was significantly lower than in controls (37.3 ± 7.6 vs. 43.3 ± 13.1 mL/kg/min, P < 0.01, respectively), without any clinical or echocardiographic evidence of heart failure. The VAT was significantly lower in the remission group (26.9 ± 6.0 mL/kg/min vs. 31.0 ± 9.9 mL/kg/min, P < 0.01, respectively). A lower VO was associated with female sex, older age, higher BMI, radiotherapy, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
Impaired aerobic capacity had a higher prevalence in adolescents and young adults in cancer remission. This impairment was primarily related to physical deconditioning and not to heart failure.
In childhood cancer survivors, aerobic capacity is five times more impaired than in healthy subjects. This impairment mostly reflects early onset of physical deconditioning. No evidence of heart failure was observed in this population.

© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to the International Pediatric Research Foundation, Inc.