Physical activity and prostate cancer-specific survival times


Yet another study has confirmed the benefits of regular exercise in the prevention or delay of prostate cancer-specific mortality among men with non-metastatic prostate cancer.

The new study by Wang et al. is based on a prospective study of > 7,300 men diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer between 1992/3 and 2011 and followed through 2012. The full text of this paper is available on line in European Urology for those who want to read it themselves.

The basic results of this paper show that:

  • The average (median) age of the patients at diagnosis was 71 years.
  • Through 2012, there were
    • 2,743 deaths (454 due to prostate cancer and 754 due to cardiovascular disease) among 7,328 men included in the pre-diagnosis analysis (a 6.2 percent prostate cancer-specific mortality rate)
    • 1,685 deaths (261 due to prostate cancer and 464 due to cardiovascular disease) among 5,319 men included in post-diagnosis analysis (a 4.9 percent prostate cancer-specific mortality rate)
  • The patients who exercised regularly prior to diagnosis — at a rate of  ≥17.5 metabolic equivalent hours per week (MET-h/wk) — had a 37 percent lower risk for prostate cancer-specific mortality compared with men who exercised at just 3.5 to <8.75 MET-h/wk (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.63).
    • This result was statistically significant for men with low- and intermediate-risk tumors.
    • A similar result was seen for walking alone but not for other forms of recreational activity.
  • The patients who exercised regularly after diagnosis — using the same comparative exercise levels of ≥17.5 vs 3.5–<8.75 MET-h/wk — had a 31 percent lower risk for prostate cancer-specific mortality (HR = 0.69).
    • This result was not affected by tumor risk category.
    • Post-diagnosis walking had a suggestive inverse association with prostate cancer-specific mortality.

However, the authors make two important additional points:

  • These results can not be generalized to patients with metastatic forms of prostate cancer.
  • The higher screening rate among men with lower-risk tumors may have impacted the validity of these findings.

The authors conclude that:

… higher levels of postdiagnosis recreational [physical activity] were associated with lower [prostate cancer-specific mortality rates]. Prediagnosis recreational [physical activity], including walking, was associated with a lower risk of [prostate cancer-specific mortality] among men with lower-risk tumors.

2 Responses

  1. It’s a stretch and a reach but I suppose this is supportive of metabolic theories of cancer. I can “smell” (hard to describe properly) when I am in ketogenesis and it tends to happen (rather obviously) when I have been exercising on “an empty stomach”.

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