Chem­i­cals re­leased af­ter brief, in­tense ex­er­cise can slow the growth of breast cancer tu­mours

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - INTERNATIONAL - By James Draper

Ex­er­cise has long been linked to bet­ter out­comes for women with breast cancer - and a re­cent study might ex­plain why.

Ac­cord­ing to re­searchers from Den­mark, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity that's in­tense enough to cause breath­less­ness cre­ates a chem­i­cal re­lease in the body.

This re­leases com­pounds called cat­e­cholamines and one in par­tic­u­lar - ep­i­neph­rine - helps sup­press the growth of tu­mour cells.

The re­search

Se­nior study au­thor, Pernille Ho­j­man, from Univer­sity of Copenhagen, told Reuters Health: ' It is im­por­tant to high­light that ex­er­cise train­ing and ep­i­neph­rine did not com­pletely pre­vent tu­mor for­ma­tion, but in­duced a 50 per­cent re­duc­tion.

' Thus, ex­erc i s e train­ing can never re­place anti- cancer ther­apy, but could be an ef­fec­tive sup­port­ive strat­egy, which in ad­di­tion to the bi­o­log­i­cal ef­fects, also has been shown to in­crease the pa­tients’ qual­ity of life and sense of em­pow­er­ment.'

Numer­ous pop­u­la­tion stud­ies have shown that reg­u­lar fit­ness can re­duce a woman’s risk of breast cancer and, in those who al­ready have breast cancer, may keep it from com­ing back. But few stud­ies have ex­am­ined how this works.

Re­sults

Ho­j­man’s team used ex­per­i­men­tal mice im­planted with hu­man breast cancer tu­mors as well as tu­mor cells in test tubes to in­ves­ti­gate how serum sam­ples col­lected from healthy women and breast cancer pa­tients be­fore and af­ter ex­er­cise af­fect the devel­op­ment of the breast tu­mor cells, and what mech­a­nisms were in­volved.

They found that serum sam­ples taken af­ter ex­er­cise re­duced the abil­ity of tu­mor cells to grow in test tubes or in mice.

Only 45 per­cent of mice with tu­mors steeped in post- ex­er­cise serum de­vel­oped tu­mors, com­pared with 90 per­cent of mice with tu­mors not ex­posed to post- ex­er­cise serum or ex­posed to pre-ex­er­cise serum.

The re s e a r che r s traced this anti- tu­mor ac­tiv­ity to a rise in ep­i­neph­rine and nor­ep­i­neph­rine that oc­curs with mod­er­ately in­tense ex­er­cise and its ef­fect on the a gene- sig­nal­ing path­way known as Hippo that, among other things, helps to sup­press tu­mor devel­op­ment.

Numer­ous pop­u­la­tion stud­ies have shown that reg­u­lar fit­ness can re­duce a woman’s risk of breast cancer and, in those who al­ready have breast cancer, may keep it from com­ing back. But few stud­ies have ex­am­ined how this works.

Ef­fects

This ef­fect emerged only with serum sam­ples taken af­ter 15 min­utes of mod­er­ate- to high-in­ten­sity ex­er­cise, ac­cord­ing to the re­port in Cancer Re­search, and it was not re­lated to the serum- donor’s body weight, blood sugar lev­els or im­mune re­sponses.

'In our study, we found that breast cancer pa­tients in ad­ju­vant chemo­ther­apy, were in­deed ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing the re­quired ex­er­cise, so it is fea­si­ble for cancer pa­tients to do the ex­er­cise train­ing we are propos­ing,' Ho­j­man noted in an email in­ter­view.

' Our iden­ti­fied mech­a­nism of an ep­i­neph­rine-driven reg­u­la­tion of the Hippo sig­nal­ing path­way dur­ing ex­er­cise could cer­tainly also be en­vi­sioned to work in other types of cancer,' she said.

Re­searchers traced anti-tu­mor ac­tiv­ity to a rise in ep­i­neph­rine and nor­ep­i­neph­rine that oc­curs with mod­er­ately in­tense ex­er­cise

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