Exercise and the Hallmarks of Cancer

Trends Cancer. 2017 Jun;3(6):423-441. doi: 10.1016/j.trecan.2017.04.007. Epub 2017 Jun 3.


A wealth of evidence supports an association between regular physical activity (PA) and decreased risk for cancer and cancer mortality. This is clearly an important issue given the growing worldwide incidence of both cancer and physical inactivity. Of further importance is unraveling the biological mechanisms that explain the potential preventive effects of PA against the development of cancer, as this might improve our understanding of cancer biology and assist researchers exploring novel treatment strategies. Here we review mechanistic studies that help explain the anticancer effects of exercise based on how exercise impacts hallmark features of cancer. We also discuss the emerging role of myokines, methodological caveats in the field, and potential questions that remain to be addressed in future research.

Keywords: immune system; myokines; physical activity; tumor.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / immunology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Risk
  • Signal Transduction