Researchers in Australia, said a moderate bout of exercise has been found to keep the cell count of certain type of immune cells at a normal level, suggesting the exercise was safe for prostate cancer survivors.
According to this result published in experimental ‘Physiology’, exercise helps the immune system mobilise by causing NK cells to move into the blood and be transported to areas of need, such as sites of infection or tumours.
At the tissues, these cells move out of circulation and in cancer patients they can infiltrate the tumour and potentially slow the tumour’s rate of growth, reported the ‘New Medical Life Sciences’.
Natural killer (NK) cells are a type of lymphoid cell, which function in the innate immune system to remove infected or cancerous selfcells. After 24 hours of moderate bout of cycling, the immune cell count of natural killer (NK) cells, part of the body’s first line of defence, had returned to resting levels. Prostate cancer treatments, including androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), have numerous adverse effects that reduce physical function and quality of life.
However, the researchers, based at Victoria University in Australia, recommended moderate exercise for cancer survivors to reduce the side effects of treatment, which has shown to have many benefits. It is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for men.
The effects of prostate cancer treatment and acute exercise on the immune system have only been briefly examined. Exercise oncology guidelines were initially based on the responses seen in healthy, older adults.
But individuals with cancer have different physiological responses to exercise, many of which we are only just beginning to understand. This has been shown very elegantly in animal models but the exercise and immune response in cancer survivors is limited, with only a few studies in prostate cancer.
The research team had 11 cancer survivors currently receiving ADT treatment, 14 men with prostate cancer not on ADT, and eight healthy controls completed a cycling task to determine their maximal aerobic fitness.
They obtained blood samples before exercise, immediately after and two hours after they finished cycling. The participants then came back the next day (24h) after exercise, and immune function was assessed again after one night of recovery. They also measured several key hormone levels, including adrenaline and noradrenaline, as they play a role in activating and mobilizing the NK immune cells.
The researchers found that 24 hours after a moderate bout of cycling, the immune cell count of natural killer (NK) cells, part of the body’s first line of defence, had returned to resting levels. They also showed that the immune cell mobilisation with exercise does not appear to be significantly altered during prostate cancer treatment, which provides direct evidence that acute exercise that falls within current oncology guidelines also appears to be beneficial for the immune system.-