Exercise training in transgenic mice is associated with attenuation of early breast cancer growth in a dose-dependent manner.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


PloS one, Volume 8, Issue 11, p.e80123 (2013)


2013, Experimental Histopathology Core Facility


Epidemiological research suggests that regular physical activity confers beneficial effects that mediate an anti-tumor response and may reduce cancer recurrence. It is unclear what amount of physical activity is necessary to exert such a protective effect and what mechanisms are involved. We investigated the effects of voluntary wheel running on tumor progression and cytokine gene expression in the transgenic polyoma middle T oncoprotein (PyMT) mouse model of invasive breast cancer. Runners showed significantly reduced tumor sizes compared with non-runners after 3 weeks of running (p ≤ 0.01), and the greater the running distance the smaller the tumor size (Pearson's r = -0.61, p ≤ 0.04, R(2) = 0.38). Mice running greater than 150 km per week had a significantly attenuated tumor size compared with non-runners (p ≤ 0.05). Adipose tissue mass was inversely correlated with tumor size in runners (Pearson's r = -0.77, p = 0.014) but not non-runners. Gene expression of CCL22, a cytokine associated with recruitment of immunosuppressive T regulatory cells, was decreased in tumors of runners compared to non-runners (p ≤ 0.005). No differences in tumor burden or metastatic burden were observed between runners and non-runners after ten weeks of running when the study was completed. We conclude that voluntary wheel running in PyMT mice correlates with an attenuation in tumor progression early during the course of invasive breast cancer. This effect is absent in the later stages of overwhelming tumor burden even though cytokine signaling for immunosuppressive regulatory T cells was down regulated. These observations suggest that the initiation of moderate exercise training for adjunctive therapeutic benefit early in the course of invasive breast cancer should be considered for further investigation.