TUESDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Vigorous exercise causes changes in some 180 prostate genes among men with early stage prostate cancer, a new study suggests.
Included are genes known to suppress tumor growth and repair DNA, which might mean that exercise could prevent or delay progression of the disease, the researchers said.
"There are many reasons to exercise," June Chan, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, and urology at the University of California, San Francisco, said during a Tuesday press conference. "Here's yet another great reason to exercise and it may offer a prostate cancer-specific benefit."
For the study, Chan's team compared prostate genes from 70 men with low-risk prostate cancer to normal prostate genes from 70 men.
The cancer patients in the study were undergoing "active surveillance" -- also known as "watchful waiting" -- rather than active treatment.
The men answered questions about how much and what type of exercise they did.
Chan's group found 184 genes that were differently expressed in men who did activities such as jogging, tennis or swimming for at least three hours a week, compared with genes in men who did less exercise.
Genes more highly expressed in men who did vigorous exercise included well-known tumor-suppressor genes associated with breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, the researchers found.
In addition, these men also had increased expression of genes involved in DNA repair, they noted.
The researchers hope to confirm their findings in a larger group of men who are undergoing active surveillance, and also among men who have experienced a recurrence of their cancer.
There are limitations to this study, Chan said. Most important, the study was small and so the results could be by chance, she said.
"If confirmed, the results suggest that vigorous physical activity migh
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