The researchers are currently conducting a validation study, in mice, in which tumors are injected directly into the prostate, thereby better simulating human prostate cancer, Jones said.
Down the line, we will test this hypothesis in humans undergoing medical treatment for prostate cancer, he said.
The researchers want to caution men against interpreting these findings as an endorsement for not exercising for fear of getting or exacerbating cancer.
These mice were not receiving treatment and we were allowing aggressive tumors to grow unchecked for the sake of the experiment, said study investigator Freedland, a urologist at Duke. Patients would not find themselves in the same situation.
Concerns should also be overridden by the well-established benefits of exercise, including its positive effects on cardiovascular health, Type II diabetes, obesity, and many other chronic conditions, he said.
This study gives us insight into which cellular pathways are affected by exercise, and starts to give us clues about how to harness the beneficial effects, said Michael Potter, a medical student at Duke and lead investigator on the study. Ultimately, we hope that this knowledge will help us use exercise to both deliver medicines more effectively and protect the body from the harmful side effects of treatment, as we already know it can.
This is one of the first studies to look at the physiological effects of exercise on the tumor itself, rather than examining the quality-of-life or symptom-control effects of exercise in cancer patients, Jones said.
The findings were a bit surprising, but provide a very important and exciting foundation upon which to build, he said.
|Contact: Lauren Shaftel Williams|
Duke University Medical Center