Background: Dysregulation of adipokines, such as adiponectin and leptin, is associated with a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer. Physical activity protects against breast cancer and one of the mechanisms which may underlie this association is exercise-induced changes in adipokine levels. The WISER Sister Trial was a three-armed randomized controlled trial in premenopausal women (n = 137) with an elevated risk for breast cancer. Methods: A 5-menstrual-cycle-long dosed aerobic exercise intervention compared low-dose exercise (150 min/wk; n = 44) or high-dose exercise (300 min/wk; n = 48) with a control group asked to maintain usual activity levels (n = 45). Exercise intensity progressed to and was maintained at 70% to 80% of age predicted heart rate max. Body composition and adipokine levels were measured at baseline and follow-up. Results: We observed significant linear trends for increased fitness capacity (Δ%:-2.0% control, 10.1% low dose, 13.1% high dose), decreased fat tissue-to-total tissue mass (Δ%: 0.7% control, -2.9% low dose, -3.7% high dose), increased body fat adjusted adiponectin (Δ%: -0.6% control, 0.6% low dose, 0.9% high dose), and decreased body fat adjusted leptin (Δ%: 0.7% control, -8.2% low dose, -10.2% high dose). Conclusions: In this randomized clinical trial of premenopausal women at risk for breast cancer, we demonstrate a dose-response effect of exercise on adiponectin and leptin and that dose response is dependent on changes in body fat. Impact: Improved adipokine levels, achieved by aerobic exercise training-induced decreases in body fat, may decrease breast cancer risk for high-risk premenopausal women.
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