Improving body function and minimizing activity limitations in pediatric leukemia survivors: The lasting impact of the Stoplight Program

Lynn R. Tanner, Casey Hooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: After acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treatment, children can have persistent muscle weakness, range of motion limitations, and decreased function after treatment. The Stoplight Program (SLP), a proactive physical therapy intervention, was administered as the standard of care during ALL treatment to prevent and minimize these impairments. The purpose of this follow-up study was to measure body function and activity limitations in ALL survivors who completed the SLP and compare them to a pre-SLP control group, thus evaluating the longer term impact of the SLP.

PROCEDURE: Two cohorts of survivors of pediatric ALL ages 5 to 18 years were assessed 18 to 24 months after completing ALL treatment. Measurements included both the body coordination subtest and the strength and agility subtest of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, active dorsiflexion range of motion (ADROM), and physical activity by self-report.

RESULTS: The control group and SLP group did not differ in size (n = 15), mean age (9 years), or time off ALL treatment (20 months). The SLP group had better scale scores for bilateral coordination (P = 0.05), running speed/agility (P < 0.01), and strength (P = 0.01). The number of survivors with 5 degrees or greater of ADROM (right) was significantly greater in the SLP group. ADROM had a positive correlation with strength/agility standard score in the combined survivor group.

CONCLUSION: The SLP is a proactive physical therapy intervention that continues to positively impact children after treatment. Referral to physical therapy should be the standard to optimize long-term function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27596
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • motor function
  • physical performance
  • physical therapy
  • prospective surveillance model
  • rehabilitation
  • Motor Skills/physiology
  • Prognosis
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma/rehabilitation
  • Child, Preschool
  • Male
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Survivors/statistics & numerical data
  • Exercise
  • Non-Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Quality of Life
  • Female
  • Child

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Journal Article


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