Study Reveals the Association between HIIT and Colon Cancer


Colorectal cancer is said to cause 50,000 death in the current year according to the calculated predictions. The treatment options for this type of cancer vary from drugs to localized therapies.

New research has, however, suggested a new treatment modality that may be beneficial in the treatment of colorectal cancer and improvement of the patient outcome: high-intensity exercise.

The lead author of the research James Devin together with his team set out for investigating the impact of short bursts of exercise on colon cells suffering from cancer.

Previous research has indicated how exercising for extended periods of time can help fight cancer. This new study has, however, indicated that similar effects can be obtained with shorter bursts of exercise as well.

While some studies have established links between exercise and a considerable reduction in mortality related to colon cancer, the mechanism behind this remains unclear.

Immediate Effects Via High-intensity Exercise

For elucidation of these mechanisms, the team involved participants suffering from colorectal cancer and instructed them to either follow High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in acute sessions of 12 sessions over a month-long period.

HIIT refers to a training method that instructs the person to perform physical work at higher intensities in a single session by alternating these high-intensity workouts with low-intensity exercises.

In the group following acute sessions, the researchers gathered blood serum samples at baseline, after finishing the session, and about 120 minutes after the exercise. In the 4-week group, the blood was collected before the intervention and then a month later.

The serum collected after HIIT session but not after 120 minutes was found to have a lower number of cancer cells.

The scientists also found a considerable increase in specific types of cytokines i.e. a type of signaling protein that regulates the inflammatory and immune responses. These cytokines include IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.

The acute effects of HIIT together with the cytokine influx can be important mediators for reducing the progression of cancer cells. Repetitive exposure to these effects can help establish the link between exercise and improvement in cancer survival.

The scientists also found that acute session of HIIT also increased inflammation immediately after the exercise which is thought to further reduce the cancer cells. This suggests that an active lifestyle can be important in managing colorectal tumors in humans.

The lead scientists James Devin has said that their study has successfully proven how exercise can play a role in stopping the growth of cancer cells in the colon.

However, the researchers have raised certain cautions regarding this study. One of these cautions includes the method used in this study for investigating the colon cancer cells in labs. These methods were completely different from how these cells normally grow inside the human body. So, more research must be done in order to check the effects of HIIT in colon cells under the attack of cancer.

Devin has said how they would like to check how these changes occur in the growth of cells. He also emphasized on the importance of mechanisms through which the biomarkers in the blood can affect cell growth.


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Samantha Issac
Samantha is a graduate of Medicine with masters in Public Health. Most of her writings are in medicinal tools, technology, and treatments. In addition to that, she is a freelance healthcare writer based in the USA.


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