Regular Exercise Reduces Colorectal Cancer Risk in Patients with Lynch Syndrome: Study

Regular Exercise Reduces Colorectal Cancer Risk in Patients with Lynch Syndrome: Study

Regular and intense aerobic exercise has been found to decrease the risk of colorectal cancer in individuals with Lynch Syndrome (LS), a hereditary condition that predisposes individuals to the disease. According to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, engaging in high-intensity training (HIIT) can improve the immune system’s ability to identify and eliminate potentially harmful cells, leading to a reduction in colorectal cancer risk.

The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, followed 21 LS patients over a 12-month period. Eleven patients were assigned to an exercise group, while 10 received usual care. The exercise group participated in three 45-minute HIIT cycling sessions per week, while the usual care group received information about the benefits of physical activity.

The findings revealed that LS carriers in the exercise group experienced a decrease in the inflammatory marker prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in both the colon and blood. Additionally, higher levels of natural killer (NK) cells and CD8+ T cells, two types of immune cells, were observed in the colon, suggesting an enhanced immune response.

The study also found that exercise led to changes in gene activity in the normal colorectal mucosa. Activated genes were involved in immune signaling pathways, while suppressed genes were linked to muscle contraction and metabolism.

Furthermore, increased oxygen consumption during exercise stimulated the production of myokines and cytokines, which assist in regulating the immune system. Exercise was also associated with lower PGE2 levels and an increase in certain immune cells that play a crucial role in defending against cancer.

The researchers hope that these findings can lead to the development of a “lifestyle prescription” for LS patients, offering them a non-pharmacological approach to reducing their cancer risk over time.

While the study has certain limitations, such as a small sample size and a non-randomized design, further randomized clinical trials will be necessary to confirm the preventive efficacy of aerobic exercise training in LS carriers and explore the underlying immune-related pathways.

– Deng, N., et al. (2023) Exercise Training Reduces the Inflammatory Response and Promotes Intestinal Mucosa-associated Immunity in Lynch Syndrome. Clinical Cancer Research.
– Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment, the T. Boone Pickens Fund, the National Cancer Institute (CA016672, P50 CA221707), and MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program®.
– Vilar-Sanchez, M.D., Ph.D., study lead, professor of Clinical Cancer Prevention.


– University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
– Clinical Cancer Research.

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