Background: There is convincing evidence from numerous clinical and epidemiological studies that physical activity can reduce the risk for breast and prostate cancer. The biological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon remain elusive. Herein we suggest a role for naturally produced antibodies reactive with the vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) in the suppression of breast and prostate cancer, which we believe could offer a possible molecular mechanism underlying control of these cancers by physical exercise.
Methodology and results: We found that sera from individuals having breast and prostate cancers have decreased titers of VIP natural antibodies as demonstrated by a lower reactivity against peptide NTM1, having similar informational and structural properties as VIP. In contrast, sera collected from elite athletes, exhibited titers of natural NTM1-reactive antibodies that are significantly increased, suggesting that physical activity boosts production of these antibodies.
Significance: Presented results suggest that physical exercise stimulates production of natural anti-VIP antibodies and likely results in suppression of VIP. This, in turn, may play a protective role against breast and prostate cancers. Physical exercise should be further investigated as a potential tool in the treatment of these diseases.