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Aerobic Activity can Reduce Risk of Metastatic Cancer by 72%

Scout4answers profile image
42 Replies

Aerobic Activity can Reduce Risk of Metastatic Cancer by 72%

A new study at Tel Aviv University found that aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of metastatic cancer by 72%. According to the researchers, intensity aerobic exercise increases the glucose (sugar) consumption of internal organs, thereby reducing the availability of energy to the tumor.

The study was led by two researchers from TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine: Prof. Carmit Levy from the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry and Dr. Yftach Gepner from the School of Public Health and the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute. The paper was published in the prestigious journal Cancer Research and chosen for the cover of the November 2022 issue

"If the general message to the public so far has been 'be active, be healthy', now we can explain how aerobic activity can maximize the prevention of the most aggressive and metastatic types of cancer." Prof. Carmit Levy and Dr. Ytach Gepner

Enhanced Rate of Glucose Consumption

Previous studies have demonstrated that physical exercise reduces the risk for some types of cancer by up to 35%. This positive effect resembles the impact of exercise on other conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

In this study, Prof. Levy and Dr. Gepner added new insight, showing that high-intensity aerobic exercise, which derives its energy from sugar, can reduce the risk of metastatic cancer by as much as 72%. "If the general message to the public so far has been 'be active, be healthy'," they say, "now we can explain how aerobic activity can maximize the prevention of the most aggressive and metastatic types of cancer."

The study combined lab models trained under a strict exercise regimen, with data from healthy human volunteers examined before and after running. The human data, obtained from an epidemiological study that monitored 3,000 individuals for about 20 years, indicated 72% less metastatic cancer in participants who reported regular aerobic activity at high intensity, compared to those who did not engage in physical exercise.

The animal model exhibited a similar outcome, enabling the researchers to identify its underlying mechanism. They found that aerobic activity significantly reduced the development of metastatic tumors in the lab models' lymph nodes, lungs, and liver. The researchers hypothesized that in both humans and model animals, this favorable outcome is related to the enhanced rate of glucose consumption induced by exercise.

"Physical exercise, with its unique metabolic and physiological effects, exhibits a higher level of cancer prevention than any medication or medical intervention to date." Dr. Yftach Gepner

From left to right: Prof. Carmit Levy and Dr. Yftach Gepner

"Exercise Changes the Whole Body"

"Our study is the first to investigate the impact of exercise on the internal organs in which metastases usually develop, like the lungs, liver, and lymph nodes," explains Prof. Levy.

"Examining the cells of these organs, we found a rise in the number of glucose receptors during high-intensity aerobic activity - increasing glucose intake and turning the organs into effective energy-consumption machines, very much like the muscles. We assume that this happens because the organs must compete for sugar resources with the muscles, known to burn large quantities of glucose during physical exercise. Consequently, if cancer develops, the fierce competition over glucose reduces the availability of energy that is critical to metastasis."

"Moreover," she offers, "when a person exercises regularly, this condition becomes permanent: the tissues of internal organs change and become similar to muscle tissue. We all know that sports and physical exercise are good for our health. Our study, examining the internal organs, discovered that exercise changes the whole body, so that the cancer cannot spread, and the primary tumor also shrinks in size."

Prof. Levy emphasizes that by combining scientific knowhow from different schools at TAU, the new study has led to a very important discovery which may help prevent metastatic cancer – the leading cause of death in Israel.

"Our results indicate that unlike fat-burning exercise, which is relatively moderate, it is a high-intensity aerobic activity that helps in cancer prevention," adds Dr. Gepner. "If the optimal intensity range for burning fat is 65-70% of the maximum pulse rate, sugar burning requires 80-85% - even if only for brief intervals."

"For example: a one-minute sprint followed by walking, then another sprint. In the past, such intervals were mostly typical of athletes' training regimens, but today we also see them in other exercise routines, such as heart and lung rehabilitation. Our results suggest that healthy individuals should also include high-intensity components in their fitness programs. We believe that future studies will enable personalized medicine for preventing specific cancers, with physicians reviewing family histories to recommend the right kind of physical activity. It must be emphasized that physical exercise, with its unique metabolic and physiological effects, exhibits a higher level of cancer prevention than any medication or medical intervention to date."

42 Replies
Cyclingrealtor profile image
Cyclingrealtor

I love these reports. But I also question how they apply to me.

Soon after my cross country bike ride is when I believe my pca started. I had some early signs (2014) at which time the urologist never ran anything other than a testosterone screening. His diagnosis was "psychological". Definitely had a reduced amount of "love juice" over the next 3+ years. In 2021 I had an incidental finding at a psa of 15.2 which went from rp to salvage radiation and Lupron all in 11 months.

And I still ride 70 miles or more a week. My hopes are all of the riding has and will continue to benefit me and keeping the cancer pushed away for a longer period of time.

Scout4answers profile image
Scout4answers in reply to Cyclingrealtor

Perhaps the answer has something to do with what drives prostate cancer. My understanding is it is only glucose driven in its later stages. If so (and I am not sure of this) exercise may be most useful for those of us with PCa, in helping to keep it from progressing.

ML1910 profile image
ML1910

sounds promising but what would the prescribed HIIT exercise be to get that result?

Scout4answers profile image
Scout4answers in reply to ML1910

"For example: a one-minute sprint followed by walking, then another sprint.

I try to do one minute sprints on my recumbent bike about every five minutes so about 8 in 40 minutes.

smurtaw profile image
smurtaw in reply to ML1910

HIIT with 1-minute high-intensity intervals should do it. And Tabatas would be ideal.

I have found that Tabatas and very intense bodybuilding style resistance training get my heart rate up in bursts to 100%+ of my theoretical max.

ML1910 profile image
ML1910 in reply to smurtaw

ok..I spend 8+ yrs doing crossfit so yes, familar with Tabata. Trying to understand the minimum effect dose. Tabatas, high intensity metcons in the 8-12 min range? How many times per week. I typically work in a zone 4-5 (HIIT Metcon) workout at least once a week. With 2x weight lifting per week and 3x zone 2 (running/biking) per week. I truly believe (like many others here) that exercise is one of the best interventions you can do to improve your life!

smurtaw profile image
smurtaw in reply to ML1910

I'd start with the government guidelines.

2. According to the U.S. government, for adults with prostate cancer, greater amounts of physical activity after diagnosis help to substantially lower the risk of dying from their cancer: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition

health.gov/sites/default/fi...

3. For RP patients, 10-year distant metastasis-free survival rate is over 4 times better for men in the top 25% of psoas muscle strength/mass vs the bottom 25%. 10-year CSS was almost 6 times better. 10-year OSS was over 2.5 times greater: Association of Muscle Mass with Survival after Radical Prostatectomy in Patients with Prostate Cancer

pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/309...

I shoot for around 90-120 minutes of low-intensity cardio (zone 2) and 3-4 hours of hard bodybuilding each week. That gets me to around 35-45 met hours per week.

Exercise vs. all-cause mortality
ML1910 profile image
ML1910 in reply to smurtaw

nice! thanks

One-Eyed-Jack profile image
One-Eyed-Jack

I'm in the 28% group, didn't stop cancer from advancing. Wish Pickleballplayer didn't make a sudden exit, would enjoy reading his response to this.

Miomarito profile image
Miomarito in reply to One-Eyed-Jack

what do you mean regarding pickle… I like him!

smurtaw profile image
smurtaw

In progress: INTense ExeRcise for surviVAL Among Men With Metastatic Prostate Cancer (INTERVAL - GAP4) - Full Text View - ClinicalTrials.gov

clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show...

noahware profile image
noahware

I do believe that aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of metastatic cancer, but I don't believe its simply because it reduces the availability of energy to the tumor.

What makes more sense to me is implied in the title of the piece: "Exercise Changes the Whole Body." Meaning, intense exercise serves to change the expression of genes and metabolic pathways such that metastatic activity is less aggressive.

The seeding of micro-mets to the bones via the bloodstream, many years before larger mets develop and/or become clinically significant, cannot be all that energy intensive, can it? I mean relative to the amount of sugar the brain itself requires/desires, a tiny micro-met trying to get bigger would not be making huge demands on much of the total energy available to the body.

smurtaw profile image
smurtaw in reply to noahware

Probably multifactorial.

• Results in blood vessel utilization to bring nutrients to the muscle cells. Cancer cells need to use blood vessels to feed themselves. The busier the blood vessels are then the less focused they can be on cancer growth.

• Improves insulin sensitivity and decreases blood glucose.

• Decreases long-term inflammation.

• Helps get the circulatory system working.

• Causes various hormonal changes and the ones that I can think of appear to me to be positive for us and bad for PCa.

• Oxygenation increases. Therefore, RT is more effective.

• Boosts the immune system.

• Increases mitochondrial action. I am not sure if this would be good or bad for cancer.

• Uses glucose and the more that is used, the less is available for cancer. I have tested this on myself, and exercise reliably reduces the spike in blood sugar following a meal. Moderate exercise reduces blood sugar more than metformin does (at least in the short term).

• When a muscle contracts via weightlifting, IL-6 is released. IL-6 increases temporarily and then decreases below its baseline. Therefore, the average level is lower. IL-6 is generally pro-cancer.

• When you exercise with weights, muscle repair and regrowth occur. These processes use nutrients that the cancer cells need to grow.

• Cancer can grow and spread within the lymph system. Exercise speeds up the lymphatic system and exposes the cancer cells to the immune system. Exercise is perhaps the best method to increase lymph system flow. A back inverter might also help move fluid through the lymph system. I use one for a few minutes after each workout and at night. It stretches out my back and has helped eliminate my back issues.

• Challenges the brain. This might not translate to immediate cancer benefits. However, the more one challenges the brain, the more that the brain is utilized, the less chance of dementia, and the greater QoL.

• By exercising, strength, flexibility, outlook on life (via neurotransmitter increases), endurance, fat loss, and cardiac health (one of the top killers of men with PCa) all improve.

• It improves your mental health, body composition, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.

• If you increase muscle mass, then food demand is increased. So, you have the same supply but more demand. Therefore, cancer must fight harder to get the nutrients. Oxygen, blood supply, etc. all might operate via the same principle.

• Muscle mass and strength are well correlated with a reduction in PCa mortality. Correlation is not causation, but the evidence is substantial and one of the SOC supportive PCa therapies is exercise.

noahware profile image
noahware in reply to smurtaw

Awesome list... I'll bet you can even come up with a few more! (I'm too tired to try.)

dockam profile image
dockam

I had completed 125 marathons and the day after the Long Beach marathon on 10/13/2014, had a PSA @ 555, 10 days later 633 and in 12/2014 @ 840.2

Mets to L side ureter lymph nodes and a huge median lobe tumor on front of prostate.

Prolly woulda been way worse if I was not a marathoner, and I'm still here 8 years later with #39 chemo this Friday and never had neuropathy, never had bone mets (maybe cuz the running caused osteoblasts to keep making bone?).

Did 30 marathons post diagnosis:

blog.athlinks.com/2017/05/1...

and I'm still Standing and hiking :-)

Fight on Brothers

Randy

Scout4answers profile image
Scout4answers in reply to dockam

Randy you are an inspiration. You don't just talk the talk you walk the walk.

dockam profile image
dockam in reply to Scout4answers

Mahalo Bruddah, just tryna stay around as long as I can :-)

Fight On

Randy

Scout4answers profile image
Scout4answers in reply to dockam

My favorite aerobic activity is swing dancing with Coco

dockam profile image
dockam in reply to Scout4answers

Awww, great pic of you two💙

Nusch profile image
Nusch

Ho Scout4answers! Thanks a lot for your post. I can just contribute with my own bio. DXed 11/2017 with PSA 2.222, went through ADT, 5 cycles of chemo, RP 4/2018, RT 9/2020 and 3/2022. Currently on Lupron. I‘ve had a very large tumor and pelvic lymph nodes mets. Never had mets outside the pelvis which surprised my doctors. I‘m a long distance runner since I was around 20, almost never stopped. Inward running marathons and today I do my 8-10 miles runs daily with one day rest per week. I added weight lifting later on.

I trust that this contributes a lot that I’m still alive and well today. PSA is undetectable.

cesces profile image
cesces

Interesting, but too pat an answer. And too many confounding variables I think.

Starting with weight and fat levels. Types of cancer, general life styles, etc.

smurtaw profile image
smurtaw in reply to cesces

Which answer is too pat?

Many studies and trials show that exercise and muscle mass/strength reduce cancer progression. My MO thinks it is the most essential thing that PCa patients can do.

Is it because of muscle mass? Strength? Fat reduction? Oxygenation? Myokines? Mitochondria? Others? While it would be academically valuable to quantify or at least qualify the answer, with what we know today the action is simple: exercise.

"Cancer survivors should engage in regular physical activity for its many health benefits. For adults with breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer, greater amounts of physical activity after diagnosis help to substantially lower the risk of dying from their cancer."

From:

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition

health.gov/sites/default/fi...

cesces profile image
cesces in reply to smurtaw

Sure. Exercise is a super drug.But 72% on "cancer" is maybe perhaps false precision?

smurtaw profile image
smurtaw in reply to cesces

Agreed, their precision sucks. I think it is more like 72.482+/-.001%

rscic profile image
rscic

The temptation here is to project this finding to all cancers in all stages. There is some evidence this is not true. There is also some temptation here to use this data to project the idea that exercise is cancer preventative. While this may be true and is a good question to ask, THIS particular data does not show cancer prevention only metastasis prevention. Some commenters have noted glucose is only critical in the latter stages of Prostate Cancer. As I recall, some (likely faster growing) cancers are more dependent on glucose vs others. If this exercise finding is due to limited glucose availability then those cancers which demand more glucose might be more susceptible to an exercise regimen. Remember, research is on the front end of this finding and this finding will likely be better defined in the future ..... to be sure, this finding is interesting & I for one am pleased it was posted.

Scout4answers profile image
Scout4answers in reply to rscic

THIS particular data does not show cancer prevention only metastasis prevention.

For many of us here , preventing metastasis might be game changing.

rscic profile image
rscic in reply to Scout4answers

AGREED ..... I was just trying to minimize extrapolation of the data without actual data. A temptation which is far too prevalent.

London441 profile image
London441

I was fit and strong my whole life and got Pca anyway. There are many of us of course.

Regardless of what exercise ‘failed’ to do for me, what it has succeeded in doing could not be more obvious.

Specific to training, I suggest knowing your maximum heart rate. Too many use the standard 220 minus age, Karvonen formula etc. These are crude measurements, and many people fall outside of these numbers.

For example, If I did zone 2 training at 70% of my max by the standard calculation I’d get nothing done.

BMI (body mass index) is the least useful metric of all. Get a Dexa scan to reveal body composition if in doubt. I use a mirror 😀

Scout4answers profile image
Scout4answers in reply to London441

I use a mirror

Please elaborate

London441 profile image
London441

Half joking. Since BMI measures height and weight only, a 220 lb professional athlete with 7% body fat and a sedentary person with 40% body fat at the same weight are both considered obese by that metric. Absurd.

A Dexa scan would surely reveal the difference between the two, but casually so would their appearance.

I like a Dexa here and there, but keeping fit and forgetting the scale works almost as well for me. As Bob Dylan once wrote, ‘you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows’.

Regardless of my weight, the mirror doesn’t lie. Of course occasionally I still do-to myself 😀

Scout4answers profile image
Scout4answers in reply to London441

LOL I was thinking you were measuring your breath in a mirror to check VO2 MAX

WSOPeddie profile image
WSOPeddie

Interval training. That's what I do on the stair climber three times a week. A minute and 15 seconds intense. A minute very light or stopped to recover. Crank it back up to intense and repeat the cycle. About 8 minutes total. I use my Apple watch to monitor my pulse during this. This is the first and most onerous exercise I do at the gym -- want to get it done and out of the way. The rest of the workout (the weight machines) are a breeze by comparison.

Scout4answers profile image
Scout4answers in reply to WSOPeddie

Excellent... It does not take a lot to get it done. Once understood almost anyone can do it.

wagscure259 profile image
wagscure259

Exercise has certainly ameliorated many treatment side effects but while I’ve done 5 rounds of Tabata with 20-30 pounds for a total of 40 exercises plus core exercises and Farmers Carrys as warmups alternating with super slow exercises the next day total body workout my heart rate is flying, my cancer has progressed. I also do Nitric Oxide dump exercises nightly. as well. Cancer progressing rapidly to lymph nodes and may have mutated to neuroendocrine differentiation. Testing results hopefully completed at MSK and I will post if a treatment plan is established. BTW I feel great in large part due the elixir of exercise!

Scout4answers profile image
Scout4answers in reply to wagscure259

I feel great in large part due the elixir of exercise!

We all have the luxury of knowing we are terminal, it is what we do with the time we have left that matters . He with the Best QOL is the winner.

Reading your bio it looks like you have done an amazing job of keeeping it at bay for 10 years. Stay the course brother.

Scout4answers profile image
Scout4answers in reply to wagscure259

Thanks for mentioning Nitric Oxide dump exercise. New to me, looks like a great way to start the morning.

youtube.com/watch?v=M1CzSAm...

Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700

Tel Aviv knows! Keep rockin Scout! 👏👏👏

Scout4answers profile image
Scout4answers

I'm gonna Rock till I drop

Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700 in reply to Scout4answers

I say that you won’t drop anytime soon ! 🙏❤️

JPnSD profile image
JPnSD

These reports always seem like a real DUUUUH type of thing to me. Eating well, exercise, positive mental health, sleep, no smoking......all in positive column. As many of us already know......SH*T Happens! Like APC when you've spent a lifetime of doing the right things.

TJGuy profile image
TJGuy

My understanding is PC does not like oxygen, it likes nutrients in the blood but not Oxygen. In the presence of Oxygen cancer growth slows.

Also I had some articles back in March 2022 that said Exercise produces two chemicals that suppress PC cancer growth.

Tall Allen should comment what research actually shows.

I ride 40 to 50 miles a day, 4 to 6 times a week. Sometimes more miles.

I'm off ADT now, but this cycling has transformed my body and how it feels, how it performs.

I was given 5 to 10 years most probably 7 and only a 5 year guarantee. But at 6 years, I'm now looking at 10 more from now forward, possibly more? Oh course these are best guesses, and those guesses could be wrong.

I've considered exercise one of my most important therapies. This seems to be consistent with what I've taken away from all I read and perhaps want to believe.

It does seem that perhaps other cancers are sugar/ gulcose driven more than PC, which is driven by testosterone.

ML1910 profile image
ML1910

good summary share.icloud.com/photos/0d6...

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