Endurance exercise training may delay disease progression for certain prostate cancer (PCa) patients, according to a small pilot study.
Investigators led by Pernille Hojman, PhD, of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, randomly assigned 19 PCa patients with either biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy or on active surveillance to receive usual care or participate in a home-based endurance training program for 24 months. The interval training was unsupervised and consisted of walking, running, rowing, swimming, or bicycling. Exercise intensity varied at a heart rate corresponding to 50% to 100% of a patient’s maximal oxygen consumption. Men performed exercise on 3 days a week for 45 minutes each session. Overall, adherence to the training program was high.
Results showed that PSA doubling time, a marker of PCa progression, increased from 28 to 76 months in the exercise training group during the first 6 months, and correlated with favorable changes in maximal oxygen consumption. The training group also lost an average 3.6 kg in fat mass and showed significant improvements in triglycerides, adiponectin, insulin growth factor I, insulin growth factor-binding protein I, and fasting glucose levels. The control group, by comparison, experienced no changes in any of the metabolic parameters.
“The exercise intervention resulted in marked physiological adaptations that aided weight regulation and increased fitness levels,” Dr. Hojman told Renal & Urology News. “PSA doubling time correlated with improved fitness, but not with weight loss. These findings suggest there is a fitness component that plays a role in the control of prostate cancer that is not related to weight.”
A home-based endurance training program is a feasible option for improving fitness, metabolism, and body composition in this particular group of PCa patients, investigators concluded in Cancer Causes Control.
They acknowledged several study limitations, including the small number of patients, an inability to gauge patients’ exercise habits prior to the study, and the undetermined physical activity level of the control group. Future randomized trials involving larger numbers of patients are still needed.