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Exercise-Induced Changes in Tumor Growth via Tumor Immunity

Sports Performance Laboratory, School of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 17237 Athens, Greece
Department of Clinical Therapeutics, School of Medicine, Alexandra General Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 11528 Athens, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Peter Tiidus
Sports 2021, 9(4), 46;
Received: 14 February 2021 / Revised: 23 March 2021 / Accepted: 29 March 2021 / Published: 30 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Exercise on the Immune System)
Immunity in the tumor microenvironment plays a central role in tumor development. Cytotoxic immune cells act against tumors, while tumors manage to trigger immunosuppressive mechanisms for defense. One bout of physical exercise acutely regulates the immune system inducing short-term redistribution of immune cells among body organs. Repeated acute immune cell mobilization with continuing exercise training results in long-term adaptations. These long-term exercise-induced changes in the immune system arise both in healthy and in diseased populations, including cancer patients. Recent preclinical studies indicate that physical exercise may have a positive impact on intra-tumoral immune cell processes, resulting in tumor suppression. This short narrative review describes the effect of physical exercise on tumor growth as detected via changes in tumor immunity. Research evidence shows that exercise may improve tumor-suppressive functions and may reduce tumor-progressive responses and mechanisms of immune cells, controlling tumor development. Specifically, it seems that exercise in rodents triggers shifts in tumor infiltration of macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, cytotoxic and regulatory T lymphocytes, resulting in tumor suppression. These recent promising data suggest that physical exercise could be combined with anticancer immunotherapies, although exercise parameters like intensity, duration, and frequency need to be evaluated in more detail. More research is needed to investigate the effect of exercise in other immune cell subtypes and their possible connection with tumor growth, whilst information from human tumors is also required. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer; physical activity; cancer immunity; leukocytosis; tumor infiltration cancer; physical activity; cancer immunity; leukocytosis; tumor infiltration
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MDPI and ACS Style

Spiliopoulou, P.; Gavriatopoulou, M.; Kastritis, E.; Dimopoulos, M.A.; Terzis, G. Exercise-Induced Changes in Tumor Growth via Tumor Immunity. Sports 2021, 9, 46.

AMA Style

Spiliopoulou P, Gavriatopoulou M, Kastritis E, Dimopoulos MA, Terzis G. Exercise-Induced Changes in Tumor Growth via Tumor Immunity. Sports. 2021; 9(4):46.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Spiliopoulou, Polyxeni, Maria Gavriatopoulou, Efstathios Kastritis, Meletios Athanasios Dimopoulos, and Gerasimos Terzis. 2021. "Exercise-Induced Changes in Tumor Growth via Tumor Immunity" Sports 9, no. 4: 46.

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