Metastatic Cancer: 72% Reduction in Risk of Tumor Spread with Exercise

Metastatic Cancer: 72% Reduction in Risk of Tumor Spread with Exercise

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A new study shows that high-intensity exercise increases glucose consumption by internal organs, which could reduce the energy needed for tumors to spread. Solskin/Getty Images
  • A recent study found that high-intensity aerobic exercise increased glucose uptake by internal organs.
  • Researchers believe that this combination reduces the availability of energy needed for tumor growth.
  • Using data from a prospective study, researchers found 72% fewer metastatic cancers in participants who regularly engaged in high-intensity aerobic activity.
  • In another study involving mice, researchers found that aerobic activity reduced the development of metastatic tumors in the animals’ lymph nodes, lungs, and liver.

Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread from its starting point to another part of the body.

Researchers behind a study 2022 estimated that 623,405 people in the United States were living with metastatic breast, prostate, lung, colorectal, or bladder cancer, or metastatic melanoma in 2018.

While working with other researchers, Professor Carmit Levy, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at Tel Aviv University, became interested in muscle resistance to metastatic cancer.

This work led to a new study from Tel Aviv University, recently published in Research against cancersuggesting that people may be able to reduce their risk of developing metastatic cancer by regularly engaging in high-intensity aerobic exercise.

“Of [being curious] on muscle, we ended up investigating physical activity,” said Professor Levy Medical News Today. “We said, ‘OK, there’s something about muscle activity that maybe prevents this organ from being a common site of metastasis for all types of cancers. “”

Through their work, the researchers identified the mechanism behind the preventive effect of exercise. They found that physical activity increases glucose consumption by internal organs, which means less energy available to the tumor.

Erica Rees PuniaPh.D., MPH, a senior investigator in epidemiology and behavioral research at the American Cancer Society, not involved in the study, described the mechanism underlying DTM:

“Simply put, exercise ‘reprograms’ our organs to demand more nutrients. At the same time, the healthy organs of athletes are more easily able to compete with cancer cells (especially melanoma cells, in the case of this study) for nutrients. This leaves fewer nutrients available for the tumor to use to grow.

For the study, Professor Levy and Dr Yftach Gepner, a senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University’s School of Public Health, combined data from a prospective study conducted by the Israel Center for Disease Control and the Department of Nutrition of the Israeli Ministry of Health.

They examined 2,734 men and women selected from the general Israeli population who were originally cancer-free and between the ages of 25 and 64 who were screened before and after the race.

Participants completed two physical activity questionnaires covering vigorous and moderate activity lasting 10 minutes. They were followed over a period of 20 years.

Additionally, the researchers recruited 14 male and female runners between the ages of 25 and 45.

Participants were excluded because they smoked, took prescribed medications, or had a history of chronic lung, heart, metabolic, or orthopedic disease.

They were also asked to avoid caffeine for 12 hours, food for 3 hours and strenuous physical activity for at least 24 hours before arriving at the lab for testing.

Participants ran for 30 minutes on a treadmill at the highest speed they could manage for the entire duration.

Next, the researchers collected ventilation and metabolic measurements using breath-by-breath analysis and monitored the participants’ heart rates using a chest strap. They took blood from the participants before and after the exercise.

In another study, researchers used an animal model where mice were subjected to exercise regimens.

They selected female mice because they showed an increased metabolic response to exercise compared to males.

A group of mice was used as a control. The other was subjected to a physical training protocol on a treadmill. The mice exercised every other day. Gradually, the researchers increased the duration and intensity of the exercise. It lasted 8 weeks.

Some of the mice were then injected with melanoma cells. After 4 days of recovery, the researchers again subjected these mice to regular exercise on the treadmill for another 4 weeks.

Later, the researchers took the lungs, lymph nodes, liver, and skeletal muscles from sedentary mice and mice that were exercised for proteomics and ex vivo metabolic capacity analyses.

“We removed organs that typically harbor metastases,” Levy said. DTM.

“And we said, ‘Let’s dissect these organs and see how these organs behave after long-term physical activity.

Proteomic analysis of the blood of regularly active participants showed an increase in carbohydrate utilization after exercise.

Data from the prospective study showed that exercising before developing cancer had a modest impact on diagnoses of slow-growing cancer.

However, exercise “significantly reduces the likelihood of highly metastatic cancer,” according to the researchers.

Of the participants studied, those who reported regular high-intensity aerobic exercise had 72% less metastatic cancer than sedentary participants.

In the mouse study, researchers found that mice exercised before being injected with cancer cells were “significantly protected” against metastasis to distant organs.

Proteomic and ex vivo metabolic capacity analyzes of mouse organs have shown that exercise induces catabolic processes, glucose uptake, mitochondrial activity and GLUT expression.

When researchers looked at the organs of mice, they found that long-term physical activity alters muscles (increases muscle mass) and alters organs.

“We found that internal organs like the lymph nodes, like the lungs, like the liver, those organs that usually harbor cancer [are] change when there is chronic physical activity,” Levy said. DTM.

“They change into [the] meaning they become super metabolic. And when I say super metabolic, I mean their demand for glucose and the demand for their mitochondria increases [and] their glucose uptake increases. They become like superhero organs.

When cancer tries to attack these organs, it loses the fight, researchers believe.

Dr. Adrian Cristian, head of cancer rehabilitation at the Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida, told DTM that with this study, the researchers demonstrated “that exercise induces changes in the microenvironment of cancer cells that make them inhospitable to grow when they compete with non-cancerous cells for nutrients.”

In future research, Levy said DTMresearchers could determine whether exercise requires high intensity to achieve the protective effect.

“What we were studying here was aerobic,” Levy noted. “I’m not saying Pilates doesn’t do the same thing. I don’t know because we haven’t studied other [types] of physical activity. »

The researchers who worked on this study are also interested in the impact of exercise on people who already have cancer, as well as how long the preventive effect of exercise lasts when people stop exercising. train regularly.

“How long does the body remember? We don’t know,” Levy said.

Currently, the authors of the present study are studying the impact of physical activity on brain metastases.

According to Dr. Cristian, more research is needed on the impact of exercise on the metastatic spread of common cancers, such as breast, prostate, colorectal, lung and gynecological cancers.

“Which cancers are most responsive to exercise as an intervention to minimize metastatic spread,” Dr. Cristian said.

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