Researchers are highlighting the benefit of exercising as they have found that the mice that spent their free time on a running wheel are able to shrink tumours compared to their less active counterparts.
Researchers found that the surge of adrenaline that comes with a high-intensity workout helped to move cancer-killing immune (NK) cells toward lung, liver, or skin tumours implanted into the mice.
Senior author Pernille Hojman said that it is known that infiltration of natural killer (NK) immune cells can control and regulate the size of tumours, but nobody had looked at how exercise regulates the system.
The research group also discovered that an immune signalling molecule called IL-6 was the link between adrenaline-dependent mobilization of NK cells and tumour infiltration. It’s known that IL-6 is released from muscle tissue during exercise, but Hojman presents evidence that adrenaline specifically hails IL-6 sensitive NK cells and that the IL-6 molecules helped guide the immune cells to the tumours.
She added that in this study they showed that the exercise-induced IL-6 seems to play a role in homing of NK cells to the tumour and also in the activation of those NK cells.
While the research is hopeful for patients looking for inexpensive ways to manage their cancer, more needs to be learned about the effects of exercise on metastasis and longevity.
The study is published in the Journal Cell Metabolism.