PREFERABLE-II is a 5-year project in which European and Australian researchers collaborate to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors by lowering the burden of treatment-related side effects through exercise. In addition, they also aim to improve the availability, access, and awareness of exercise-based supportive care interventions.

What are the goals of the project?
Following the success of PREFERABLE, which is an H2020 project focusing on physical exercise to combat fatigue in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients, the PREFERABLE-II consortium sets out to design and demonstrate the (cost-)effectiveness of a novel exercise intervention that:
1) will be tailored to the side effect that bothers the survivor the most (fatigue, neuropathy, anxiety/depression or decreased physical functioning)
2) can be implemented at home, with live-remote supervision from a national broadcast centre
3) is available to all cancer survivors
4) incorporates improved patient-centred communication and shared decision making.

Why is PREFERABLE-II important?
With over 12 million cancer survivors relying on supportive care across the EU, it is essential to provide them with (cost-)effective interventions tailored to their specific needs. Many survivors suffer from long-term side effects that can lower their quality of life, functioning, and productivity. Exercise interventions have proven to be uniquely beneficial in managing both physical and psychological complaints. However, their effects are strongest when tailored to a patient’s specific burden, e.g. fatigue, low physical fitness, anxiety and depressive symptoms or chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Moreover, the use of exercise interventions in supportive cancer care is still limited due to a lack of availability, a lack of accessibility caused by time and travel constraints and low awareness.

Outcomes of PREFERABLE-II?
Results of our RCT, enrolling 350 cancer survivors, will be translated into recommendations for exercise-oncology guidelines. Extensive ethical, legal, and social impact components of the project will reveal barriers and facilitators of live-remote supervised exercise and
provide policy recommendations to further support implementation. Finally, we will create communication standards and an education module for healthcare professionals to train the future workforce.

Launch of Project in Utrecht:
PREFERABLE II kick- off meeting took place in Utrecht 7-8 November 2022. The project partners met to discuss their upcoming activities for the following months and presented their tasks and planning. Ioannis Vouldis, Programme Manager for Health Research on Cancer Mission at HaDEA, shared his insights from the European Commission’s point of view regarding the cancer mission and funding programs. He also addressed different aspects of project implementation, for example, reporting and payment, ethics, amendments, as well as open access and communication.