LivingExercising could slow tumor growth

Exercising could slow tumor growth

Science does not tire of demonstrating the thousand and one benefits that the practice of physical exercise has. The last reason to get used to it comes from the hand of a new animal study in which it has been seen that mice that exercised before developing cancer experienced slower tumor growth and better heart function . We insist that the experiment is done with mice, not humans, but it could be interesting to take into account its conclusions.

The experiment, conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has also shown how exercising before developing cancer helps reduce the effects of a complication of the disease known as wasting syndrome, or cachexia. Cachexia is a metabolic wasting disorder that affects up to 80% of patients with advanced cancer and is associated with a third of all cancer deaths . People with cachexia experience severe and progressive muscle wasting, impaired heart structure and function, and a poorer overall quality of life .

It seems that it is aerobic exercise , in which the body obtains energy from oxygen, that would most help to achieve the results pointed out in the study. “Most exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is easily accessible and affordable,” says Louisa Tichy, a graduate student in Traci Parry’s lab at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. “Therefore, engaging in consistent aerobic exercise, such as running, is a cost-effective way to reduce the risk of cancer and its complications.”

Previous research has shown that exercise may have anti- inflammatory effects and may positively influence cancer cachexia by slowing its development and preserving cardiac structure and function. However, very few studies have focused on preconditioning . “Our preclinical study indicates that preconditioning, or exercise prior to tumor onset, appears to play an important cardioprotective role during cancer cachexia by preserving cardiac structure and function,” says Tichy. “It also helped slow tumor growth, even when the animals did not exercise during the period of tumor support.”

For the new study, the researchers studied mice that either exercised on a treadmill for eight weeks or did not exercise at all. After eight weeks, the scientists induced cancer in some of the exercised and some sedentary mice, while keeping some mice from both groups cancer-free to act as controls.

The researchers found that mice with cancer and a sedentary lifestyle had poorer heart function (as measured by echocardiography) than mice that exercised before cancer induction. In addition, mice in the exercise group had a smaller tumor volume and 60% less tumor mass than mice in the sedentary group.

“These data are crucial in identifying the importance of exercise and the best time to exercise as a preventive and protective measure against the deleterious effects of cancer cachexia,” Tichy said.

Researchers are working to understand the underlying proteins and pathways that are affected by cancer and exercise so that this information can be used to inform exercise interventions. They also note that creating safe and effective exercise interventions for cancer patients would require evaluating the best intensity, duration, and timing of exercise in preclinical models before moving on to studies in people.

Differences between aerobic and anaerobic exercise

What does one and the other consist of? The aerobic exercise referred to in the mouse study is one in which the body uses oxygen for energy. In the anaerobic, the organism does not need oxygen.

Aerobic exercises are those of long duration and medium or low intensity . In them, the body burns carbohydrates and fats to obtain energy, and for this it needs oxygen. They are usually done to lose fat and as a lot of oxygen is needed, the cardiovascular system is exercised. Examples of aerobic exercise are: running, cycling, swimming, walking…

Anaerobic exercises are those that last a short time, but are of high intensity. The energy used by the body to carry them out does not come from oxygen but from immediate sources in which it does not intervene: muscle ATP, glucose, phosphocreatine, PC. These types of exercises serve to strengthen the musculoskeletal system. Examples of anaerobic exercise are: doing weights, exercises in which you have to make a great effort in a short time, speed races…

Each type of exercise provides certain health benefits. The choice of one or the other will be made based on the objectives that are had, but, at a global health level, the ideal is to combine both types.

 

The study will be presented by Louisa Tichy at the annual meeting of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) during the Experimental Biology 2022 meeting, which takes place from April 2 to 5 in Philadelphia.

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