Exercise-induced biochemical changes and their potential influence on cancer: a scientific review

R.J. Thomas, S.A. Kenfield, Alfonso Jiminez

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    85 Citations (Scopus)
    51 Downloads (Pure)


    Aim To review and discuss the available international literature regarding the indirect and direct biochemical mechanisms that occur after exercise, which could positively, or negatively, influence oncogenic pathways. Methods The PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase and Cochrane libraries were searched for papers up to July 2016 addressing biochemical changes after exercise with a particular reference to cancer. The three authors independently assessed their appropriateness for inclusion in this review based on their scientific quality and relevance. Results 168 papers were selected and categorised into indirect and direct biochemical pathways. The indirect effects included changes in vitamin D, weight reduction, sunlight exposure and improved mood. The direct effects included insulin-like growth factor, epigenetic effects on gene expression and DNA repair, vasoactive intestinal peptide, oxidative stress and antioxidant pathways, heat shock proteins, testosterone, irisin, immunity, chronic inflammation and prostaglandins, energy metabolism and insulin resistance. Summary Exercise is one of several lifestyle factors known to lower the risk of developing cancer and is associated with lower relapse rates and better survival. This review highlights the numerous biochemical processes, which explain these potential anticancer benefits.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)640-644
    JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
    Issue number8
    Early online date19 Dec 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/


    Dive into the research topics of 'Exercise-induced biochemical changes and their potential influence on cancer: a scientific review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this