Sports Helps to Beat Cancer: Exercise Suppresses Tumor Growth

Exercise Suppresses Cancer Growth

The scientists identified a distinctive feature of exercise. It turns out that moderate physical activity helps to suppress cancer. The studies in mice showed that exercise boosts immunity by suppressing cancer. The scientists assumed that it was possible, but they did not understand the mechanism of the process. Now they were able to get a compelling explanation for that path.

Intense physical activity increases the level of certain metabolites. These include lactate that has the ability to fuel important immune cells in the blood. Most of the trials with effective results were conducted in mice, but preliminary studies in men showed similar effects of that mechanism on the human body.


A cancer researcher Helen Rundqvist from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden noted that exercise affects the production of several molecules and metabolites. They activate immune cells that fight cancer and thereby inhibit cancer growth.

Previous studies showed that exercise may be associated with less development of tumors in the bladder, breast, colon, and stomach. The scientists managed to collect strong evidence supporting how exercise helped specific people to cope with cancer and fully recover. In fact, exercise has an overwhelming effect on the growth of malignant cells.

The mechanism that underlies that interaction remains elusive so far. It is likely that the cancer-fighting benefits of exercise are related to changes in a person's weight, hormonal status, or immune system. The clear benefits of exercise were observed when the rodents were divided into two groups.


One was given access to a spinning wheel, while the other lived in a cage without any physical activity. The observations showed that mice that regularly ran in the wheel showed slower cancer growth and better survival rates than their counterparts that were not physically active.

The study was published in eLife.