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PurposeTreatments for breast cancer can lead to chronic musculoskeletal problems. This study aimed to systematically review the evidence surrounding the cost-effectiveness of exercise and physiotherapy interventions aimed at reducing the risk of physical symptoms and functional limitations due to breast cancer treatment.MethodsA systematic review of the cost-effectiveness of exercise and physiotherapy interventions during and following treatment for breast cancer was undertaken according to PRISMA guidelines. Literature searches were carried out in Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Web of Science, EconLit, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Scopus and the Cochrane Library. Cost-effectiveness evidence was summarised in a descriptive manner and studies were assessed using quality appraisal tools. The review protocol was registered on PROSPERO.ResultsA total of 7783 articles were identified and seven were included in the final review. Five studies undertook trial-based economic evaluations, whereas two studies conducted economic evaluation based on decision models. One study was a cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), three undertook stand-alone cost-utility analyses (CUA) and three studies were combined CEAs and CUAs. Three studies reported favourable cost-effectiveness results for different exercise or physiotherapy interventions. In contrast, four studies found that exercise and physiotherapy interventions were not cost-effective on the basis of quality-adjusted life year outcomes.ConclusionsThe evidence surrounding the cost-effectiveness of exercise and physiotherapy interventions for the treatment of breast cancer remains sparse with contrasting conclusions. Future research should particularly aim to broaden the evidence base by disentangling the contributing effects of frequency, intensity, time and type of exercise and physiotherapy interventions on cost-effectiveness outcomes.

Original publication




Journal article


Breast Cancer Research and Treatment


Springer Nature

Publication Date





37 - 52