Clin Oncol | Volume 2, Issue 1 | Research Article | Open Access

The Pioneering Hypotheses of Exercise Effects on Tumor Growth - Systematic Review

Claudia Arab1,2*, Tânia Brusque Crocetta3, Patricia Morgana Rentz Keil2, Renata Thaís de Almeida Barbosa3, Carlos Bandeira de Mello Monteiro4, James Tonks5, Thais Massetti6 and Alexandro Andrade2

1Departamento de Medicina (Cardiologia), Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil
2Centro de Ciências da Saúde e do Esporte, Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina – UDESC, Florianópolis, SC, Brasil
3Laboratório de Delineamento de Estudos e Escrita Científica, Departamento de Saúde da Coletividade, Disciplina de Metodologia Científica, Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, Santo André, SP, Brasil
4Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades da Universidade de São Paulo, EACH – USP, São Paulo, SP, Brasil
5Haven Clinical Psychology Practice, University of Exeter Medical School, Cornwall, UK
6Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo – Departamento de Fonoaudiologia, Fisioterapia e Terapia Ocupacional – FMUSP, São Paulo, SP, Brasil

*Correspondance to: Claudia Arab 

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Introduction: Over the past seventy years, the relationship between physical exercise (PE) and cancer has been researched extensively, but the biological changes associated with PE and its probable influence on the tumor growth and patient survival are still uncertain.
Aim: The objective of this study was to identify and analyze pioneering hypotheses in relation to the effect of PE and tumor growth in experimental animal models.
Methods: We conducted a descriptive historic review of the literature through PRISMA protocol by Virtual Health Library on electronic databases MEDLINE, LILACS, IBECS and SciELO. The inclusion criterion was experimental studies that submitted animals to exercise and sought to explicate the relationship between exercise and tumor growth through biological mechanisms.
Results: The pioneering hypotheses indicated that PE effects on tumor growth were due to energy-related metabolic factors which inhibit tumor growth. PE inhibits tumor growth through (a) alternative consumption of energy otherwise available in the development of tumor cells or (b) secretion of substances produced by muscle contraction in fatigue. However, there are other determining factors related to life experiences.
Conclusion: There is preliminary evidence of PE being beneficial in tumor inhibition, but acknowledge that the mechanisms involved in the effects of exercise on tumor growth remain uncertain, possibly due to the wide variety of tumor types and biological intra-individual variation


Neoplasms; Cancer; Physical exercise


Arab C, Crocetta TB, Keil PMR, de Almeida Barbosa RT, de Mello Monteiro CB, Tonks J, et al. The Pioneering Hypotheses of Exercise Effects on Tumor Growth - Systematic Review. Clin Oncol. 2017; 2: 1313.

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