Mobilizing serum factors and immune cells through exercise to counteract age-related changes in cancer risk

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Hwang, JH
McGovern, J
Minett, GM
Della Gatta, PA
Roberts, L
Harris, JM
Thompson, EW
Parker, TJ
Peake, JM
Neubauer, O
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Copyright © 2020 International Society of Exercise and Immunology. All rights reserved. An increasing body of evidence suggests that age-related immune changes and chronic inflammation contribute to cancer development. Recognizing that exercise has protective effects against cancer, promotes immune function, and beneficially modulates inflammation with ageing, this review outlines the current evidence indicating an emerging role for exercise immunology in preventing and treating cancer in older adults. A specific focus is on data suggesting that muscle- derived cytokines (myokines) mediate anti-cancer effects through promoting immunosurveillance against tumourigenesis or inhibiting cancer cell viability. Previous studies suggested that the exercise-induced release of myokines and other endocrine factors into the blood increases the capacity of blood serum to inhibit cancer cell growth in vitro. However, little is known about whether this effect is influenced by ageing. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. We therefore examined the effects of serum collected before and after exercise from healthy young and older men on the metabolic activity of androgen-responsive LNCaP and androgen-unresponsive PC3 prostate cancer cells. Exercise-conditioned serum collected from the young group did not alter cell metabolic activity, whereas post-exercise serum (compared with pre-exercise serum) from the older men inhibited the metabolic activity of LNCaP cancer cells. Serum levels of candidate cancer-inhibitory myokines oncostatin M and osteonectin increased in both age groups following exercise. Serum testosterone increased only in the younger men postexercise, potentially attenuating inhibitory effects of myokines on the LNCaP cell viability. The data from our study and the evidence in this review suggest that mobilizing serum factors and immune cells may be a key mechanism of how exercise counteracts cancer in the older population.

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Exercise immunology review

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© 2020 Hinnak Northoff. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.

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Sports science and exercise


cancer development

cancer growth-inhibitory molecular factors


immune-regulatory myokines

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Hwang, JH; McGovern, J; Minett, GM; Della Gatta, PA; Roberts, L; Harris, JM; Thompson, EW; Parker, TJ; Peake, JM; Neubauer, O, Mobilizing serum factors and immune cells through exercise to counteract age-related changes in cancer risk, Exercise immunology review, 2020, 26, pp. 80-99