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      Physical Activity, Biomarkers, and Disease Outcomes in Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review

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          Abstract

          Cancer survivors often seek information about how lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, may influence their prognosis. We systematically reviewed studies that examined relationships between physical activity and mortality (cancer-specific and all-cause) and/or cancer biomarkers. We identified 45 articles published from January 1950 to August 2011 through MEDLINE database searches that were related to physical activity, cancer survival, and biomarkers potentially relevant to cancer survival. We used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Statement to guide this review. Study characteristics, mortality outcomes, and biomarker-relevant and subgroup results were abstracted for each article that met the inclusion criteria (ie, research articles that included participants with a cancer diagnosis, mortality outcomes, and an assessment of physical activity). There was consistent evidence from 27 observational studies that physical activity is associated with reduced all-cause, breast cancer-specific, and colon cancer-specific mortality. There is currently insufficient evidence regarding the association between physical activity and mortality for survivors of other cancers. Randomized controlled trials of exercise that included biomarker endpoints suggest that exercise may result in beneficial changes in the circulating level of insulin, insulin-related pathways, inflammation, and, possibly, immunity; however, the evidence is still preliminary. Future research directions identified include the need for more observational studies on additional types of cancer with larger sample sizes; the need to examine whether the association between physical activity and mortality varies by tumor, clinical, or risk factor characteristics; and the need for research on the biological mechanisms involved in the association between physical activity and survival after a cancer diagnosis. Future randomized controlled trials of exercise with biomarker and cancer-specific disease endpoints, such as recurrence, new primary cancers, and cancer-specific mortality in cancer survivors, are warranted.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Physical activity and survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis.

          Physically active individuals have a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer but the influence of exercise on cancer survival is unknown. By a prospective, observational study of 573 women with stage I to III colorectal cancer, we studied colorectal cancer-specific and overall mortality according to predefined physical activity categories before and after diagnosis and by change in activity after diagnosis. To minimize bias by occult recurrences, we excluded women who died within 6 months of their postdiagnosis physical activity assessment. Increasing levels of exercise after diagnosis of nonmetastatic colorectal cancer reduced cancer-specific mortality (P for trend = .008) and overall mortality (P for trend = .003). Compared with women who engaged in less than 3 metabolic equivalent task [MET] -hours per week of physical activity, those engaging in at least 18 MET-hours per week had an adjusted hazard ratio for colorectal cancer-specific mortality of 0.39 (95% CI, 0.18 to 0.82) and an adjusted hazard ratio for overall mortality of 0.43 (95% CI, 0.25 to 0.74). These results remained unchanged even after excluding women who died within 12 and 24 months of activity assessment. Prediagnosis physical activity was not predictive of mortality. Women who increased their activity (when comparing prediagnosis to postdiagnosis values) had a hazard ratio of 0.48 (95% CI, 0.24 to 0.97) for colorectal cancer deaths and a hazard ratio of 0.51 (95% CI, 0.30 to 0.85) for any-cause death, compared with those with no change in activity. Recreational physical activity after the diagnosis of stages I to III colorectal cancer may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer-specific and overall mortality.
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            Resistance exercise in men receiving androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer.

            Androgen deprivation therapy is a common treatment in men with prostate cancer that may cause fatigue, functional decline, increased body fatness, and loss of lean body tissue. These physical changes can negatively affect health-related quality of life. Resistance exercise may help to counter some of these side effects by reducing fatigue, elevating mood, building muscle mass, and reducing body fat. In a two-site study, 155 men with prostate cancer who were scheduled to receive androgen deprivation therapy for at least 3 months after recruitment were randomly assigned to an intervention group that participated in a resistance exercise program three times per week for 12 weeks (82 men) or to a waiting list control group (73 men). The primary outcomes were fatigue and disease-specific quality of life as assessed by self-reported questionnaires after 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes were muscular fitness and body composition. Men assigned to resistance exercise had less interference from fatigue on activities of daily living (P =.002) and higher quality of life (P =.001) than men in the control group. Men in the intervention group demonstrated higher levels of upper body (P =.009) and lower body (P <.001) muscular fitness than men in the control group. The 12-week resistance exercise intervention did not improve body composition as measured by changes in body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, or subcutaneous skinfolds. Resistance exercise reduces fatigue and improves quality of life and muscular fitness in men with prostate cancer receiving androgen deprivation therapy. This form of exercise can be an important component of supportive care for these patients.
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              Physical activity and survival after prostate cancer diagnosis in the health professionals follow-up study.

              To determine whether higher physical activity after prostate cancer (PCa) diagnosis decreases risk of overall and PCa-specific death. We evaluated physical activity in relation to overall and PCa mortality among 2,705 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study diagnosed with nonmetastatic PCa observed from 1990 to 2008. Proportional hazards models were used to evaluate physical activity and time to overall and PCa-specific death. Among men who lived at least 4 years after their postdiagnosis physical activity assessment, we documented 548 deaths, 20% of which were a result of PCa. In multivariable analysis, men who were physically active had lower risk of all-cause mortality (P(trend) < .001) and PCa mortality (P(trend) = .04). Both nonvigorous activity and vigorous activity were associated with significantly lower overall mortality. Those who walked ≥ 90 minutes per week at a normal to very brisk pace had a 46% lower risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 0.54; 95% CI, 0.41 to 0.71) compared with shorter durations at an easy walking pace. Men with ≥ 3 hours per week of vigorous activity had a 49% lower risk of all-cause mortality (HR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.36 to 0.72). For PCa-specific mortality, brisk walking at longer durations was suggestively inverse but not statistically significant. Men with ≥ 3 hours per week of vigorous activity had a 61% lower risk of PCa death (HR, 0.39, 95% CI, 0.18 to 0.84; P = .03) compared with men with less than 1 hour per week of vigorous activity. Men exercising vigorously before and after diagnosis had the lowest risk. In men with PCa, physical activity was associated with lower overall mortality and PCa mortality. A modest amount of vigorous activity such as biking, tennis, jogging, or swimming for ≥ 3 hours a week may substantially improve PCa-specific survival.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute
                JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                0027-8874
                1460-2105
                June 07 2012
                June 06 2012
                May 08 2012
                June 06 2012
                : 104
                : 11
                : 815-840
                Article
                10.1093/jnci/djs207
                3465697
                22570317
                © 2012

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