Physical activity is associated with a lower risk of disease recurrence among colon cancer survivors. The pathways through which physical activity may alter disease outcomes are unknown, but may include changes in metabolic growth factors, such as insulin. Between January 2015 and August 2015, 39 stage I-III colon cancer survivors were randomized to one of the three groups: usual care control, 150 min/week of aerobic exercise (low-dose) and 300 min/week of aerobic exercise (high-dose) for six months. The pre-specified key metabolic growth factor outcome was fasting insulin. Insulin resistance was quantified using the homeostatic model assessment. Mean age was 56.5 ± 10.0 years, 51% had stage III disease, 72% were treated with chemotherapy and the mean time since finishing treatment was 10.9 ± 6.1 months. Over six months, the low-dose group completed 141.5 ± 9.9 min/week of aerobic exercise, and the high-dose group completed 247.2 ± 10.7 min/week of aerobic exercise. Fasting insulin concentrations decreased 7.4 ± 9.4 pmol/L in the control group, 28.0 ± 8.3 pmol/L in the low-dose group and 20.7 ± 9.3 pmol/L in the high-dose group (nonlinear Ptrend = 0.042). Insulin resistance decreased 0.11 ± 0.20 in the control group, 0.63 ± 0.17 in the low-dose group and 0.43 ± 0.19 in the high-dose group (nonlinear Ptrend = 0.012). Aerobic exercise reduces insulin concentrations and insulin resistance among patients with stage I-III colon cancer. Prescribing 150 min/week of aerobic exercise may be sufficient for reducing insulin concentrations and insulin resistance, which may partially mediate the relationship between physical activity and colon cancer prognosis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Cancer Research