Exercise has been known to be very beneficial for women with breast cancer and this study tells us exactly how it can slow down the growth of cancer cells.
A research based in Denmark shows that intense physical activity that causes breathlessness releases certain chemicals in the body.
These chemicals contain compounds called catecholamines and particularly epinephrine, which help suppress the growth of tumour cells.
In a statement to Reuters Health, senior study author, Pernille Hojman, from University of Copenhagen said, "It is important to highlight that exercise training and epinephrine did not completely prevent tumor formation, but induced a 50 percent reduction"
Adding that while exercise training can never replace anti-cancer therapy, it is still an effective supportive strategy, which in addition to the biological effects has been shown to increase the patients’ quality of life and sense of empowerment.
There are several studies that have shown how regular fitness can reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer and, in those who already have breast cancer, may keep it from coming back.
Hojman’s team used experimental mice implanted with human breast cancer tumors as well as tumor cells in test tubes to investigate how serum samples collected from healthy women and breast cancer patients before and after exercise affect the development of the breast tumor cells, and what mechanisms were involved.
They found that serum samples taken after exercise reduced the ability of tumor cells to grow in test tubes or in mice.
The researchers traced anti-tumor activity to a rise in epinephrine and norepinephrine that occurs with moderately intense exercise and its effect on the a gene-signaling pathway known as 'Hippo' which helps to suppress tumor development.
"In our study, we found that breast cancer patients in adjuvant chemotherapy, were indeed capable of performing the required exercise, so it is feasible for cancer patients to do the exercise training we are proposing," said Hojman to the Daily Mail.
Hojman believes in the certainty of the results of this study to possibly work in other types of cancer.