Effects of exercise on the immune response to cancer

Jeffrey A. Woods, J. Mark Davis, Marian L. Kohut, Abdul Ghaffar, Eugene P. Mayer, Russell R. Pate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the effects of two doses of exercise on tumor incidence and progression, and the number and activity of intratumoral phagocytic cells (80% macrophages [Mϕ’s]). Male mice were randomly assigned to control (CON), moderate (MOD) or exhaustive (EXH) treadmill running. Mice were inoculated subcutaneously with 2.5 × 105 mammary adenocarcinoma cells after 3 d of running (3 h after the last run at a point when enhancement in Mϕ cytotoxicity is observed). This tumor was chosen due to its susceptibility to Mϕ inhibition in vitro and in vivo. Mice continued daily running for 14 d. Food intakes were higher during the last 3 d in MOD and EXH, but body weights were no different. Flow cytometer analysis of tumor masses revealed that MOD had greater numbers of phagocytic cells (vs EXH) with slightly higher phagocytic activities (vs CON and EXH) (P < 0.05). However, no group differences in tumor appearance were seen except on day 7 when CON had less observable tumors than MOD and EXH (P < 0.05). Tumor size was also not different between groups at any point. These results indicate that moderate exercise can increase the phagocytic capacity of intratumoral phagocytic cells, but these changes had no apparent effect on tumor incidence or progression in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1109-1115
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Exercise
  • Flow cytometry
  • Macrophages
  • Mice
  • Phagocytosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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