Exercise has many health benefits, but now researchers at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have shown that a daily workout could potentially slow the growth of lung cancer tumors.
The study, published today in Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society, looked at the role of exercise on lung tumor growth in mice. After lung cancer was confirmed in the animals, they were separated into two groups: one that experienced sedentary living and the other that participated in daily voluntary cardiovascular exercise with running wheels. The cancerous tumors grew significantly slower in mice that received a regular workout. Researchers also discovered that a specific tumor suppressor protein level strongly increased in the mice that exercised.
"For the first time, we've been able to show that exercising after a diagnosis of lung cancer can play a role in the biology of the disease," says lead study author Kristin A. Higgins, MD, a radiation oncologist at Winship Cancer Institute. "In addition to slowing the tumor growth, the exercising mice did not experience any significant side effects from their workout and they maintained their weight."
Researchers note that further studies need to be done in humans to determine if exercise after lung cancer diagnosis is indeed beneficial.