Exercise may curb chemotherapy side-effects

A new research has suggested that doing exercise might also benefit cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.

Washington: A new research has suggested that doing exercise might also benefit cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.

The study conducted by University of Pennsylvania showed that combining exercise with chemotherapy shrunk tumors more than chemotherapy alone.

Joseph Libonati, an associate professor in the School of Nursing and director of the Laboratory of Innovative and Translational Nursing Research, said that the immediate concern for these patients was, the cancer, and they'll do whatever it takes to get rid of it, but one when gets over that hump has to deal with the long-term elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.

Libonati's team set up an experiment with four groups of mice. All were given an injection of melanoma cells in the scruffs of their neck.During the next two weeks, two of the groups received doxorubicin in two doses while the other two groups received placebo injections. Mice in one of the treated groups and one of the placebo groups were put on exercise regimens, walking 45 minutes five days a week on mouse-sized treadmills, while the rest of the mice remained sedentary.

After the two-week trial, the researchers examined the animals' hearts using echocardiogram and tissue analysis. As expected, doxorubicin was found to reduce the heart's function and size and increased fibrosis a damaging thickening of tissue. Mice that exercised were not protected fromthis damage.

Libonati said that further studies will investigate exactly how exercise enhances the effect of doxorubicin, but the Penn team believes it could be in part because exercise increases blood flow to the tumor, bringing with it more of the drug in the bloodstream and if exercise helped in this way, one could potentially use a smaller dose of the drug and get fewer side effects.

The study is published in the American Journal of Physiology.  

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