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Appraising the exercise oncology literature: a reminder of the rigour needed in systematic reviews
  1. Sarah E Neil-Sztramko1,
  2. Kerri M Winters-Stone2,
  3. Kelcey A Bland3,
  4. Kristin L Campbell4
  1. 1 Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  3. 3 School of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  4. 4 Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarah E Neil-Sztramko, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, 175 Longwood Ave S, Suite 210a, Hamilton, ON L8P0A1, Canada; neilszts{at}

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We read with great interest the publication by Fairman et al,1 which examines the design of resistance training protocols for interventions in cancer survivors, adding to similar reviews we authored in 20122 and 2014.3 We applaud the authors’ efforts, but outline concerns over methodological and reporting problems that may influence the overall message.

Both primary and secondary publications from the same trial are included as individual studies, including the PAL trial (n=6),4–9 the START trial (n=2),10 11 the Weight Training in Breast Cancer Survivors trial (n=3),12–14 and studies from Segal (n=2),15 16 and Nilsen (n=2).17 18 This overestimates the number of trials eligible for review, and gives greater weight to trials with multiple publications …

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the conception , drafting and editing of the letter, and provided approval for the final letter.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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