Regional Cancer Center ~ Erie, PA

How Running, Adrenalin Can Suppress Tumor Growth

Apr 06, 2016 | Posted in News

Exercise reduces risk of several cancers yet researchers are working to understand how. A new lab study now offers insight, showing that running mice have far fewer tumors than their less active counterparts and pinpointing how the adrenaline of exercise can activate cancer-fighting cells towards a tumor.

American Institute for Cancer Research studies shows that exercise reduces risk of colorectal, endometrial and post-menopausal breast cancers. Other research suggests that activity may also play a role in the health of cancer survivors.

This study first conducted a series of tests with wheel-running mice to observe tumor growth. Compared to inactive mice, the runners showed overall smaller and fewer tumors. In one test, for example, where the mice were given a compound that causes liver tumors, 31 percent of the running mice developed tumors compared with 75% of the inactive mice. In another test, mice that ran for a month before given tumor cells had about 60 percent fewer tumors compared to the inactive rodents.

Then the researchers analyzed what cells were activated when the mice were running, zeroing in on a group of immune cells called natural killer (NK). After six weeks of running, the mice showed higher levels of NK cells in the tumors. The more NK cells, the fewer the tumors. When running mice were stripped of their NK cells, they showed no signs of less tumor growth. More tests showed that adrenal appeared to activate NK cells. Adrenalin, also known as epinephrine, is a hormone released when exercising.

Source: AICR Blog

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