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Cancer Causes Control. 2014 Apr;25(4):515-23. doi: 10.1007/s10552-014-0354-x. Epub 2014 Feb 7.

Physical activity and prostate gene expression in men with low-risk prostate cancer.

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Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.



Vigorous physical activity after diagnosis of localized prostate cancer may reduce the risk of disease progression and prostate cancer-specific mortality. The molecular mechanisms by which physical activity may exert protective effects in the prostate remain unknown.


We examined the associations between self-reported physical activity and gene expression patterns in morphologically normal prostate tissue of 71 men with low-risk prostate cancer on active surveillance. Differential gene expression, gene set, and pathway analyses were conducted comparing dichotomous groups defined by type, intensity, and amount of physical activity reported.


Cell cycling and DNA repair pathways were up-regulated in men who participated in ≥ 3 h/week vigorous activity compared with men who did not. In addition, canonical pathways involved in cell signaling and metabolism, the cellular effects of sildenafil (Viagra), and the Nrf2-mediated oxidative stress response were modulated in men who reported ≥ 3 h/week of vigorous activity. Differential expression analysis at the individual gene level revealed modest differences between men who performed vigorous activity for ≥ 3 h/week and those who did not. There were no differences in prostate gene expression in comparisons with exercise groupings that did not consider both duration and intensity of activity.


Prostate gene expression and pathway analyses revealed sets of transcripts that may be modulated in normal prostate tissue by participating in ≥ 3 h/week of vigorous activity after diagnosis of low-risk prostate cancer. These findings suggest potential biological mechanisms by which vigorous activity may reduce risk of prostate cancer progression and warrant further study and validation.


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