(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Men with low-risk prostate cancer who participate in vigorous exercise—such as jogging, tennis or swimming—at least three hours per week have differentially expressed prostate genes compared with men who participated in less intense physical activity, a study presented at the 2012 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium has found.

The investigators hypothesized that vigorous physical activity is associated with distinct gene expression patterns in normal prostate tissue, said June M. Chan, ScD, University of California San Francisco, CA, and colleagues.

Differential expression and pathway analyses were performed on normal prostate tissue samples obtained from 70 men undergoing active surveillance for prostate cancer obtained in an earlier study, which included a questionnaire about exercise habits.

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They detected 184 significant genes differentially expressed between the 23 men who performed vigorous physical activity at least three hours/week vs. the 47 who did not. Up-regulated genes included BRAC1 and BRCA2.

The molecular mechanisms by which physical activity exerts its protective effect on prostate cancer remain unknown. “Identifying mechanisms by which lifestyle factors influence normal prostate tissue may support the development of novel strategies to predict, monitor, or prevent prostate cancer progression,” said Dr. Chan. She added that no correlation was found between body mass index and gene expression.

The 2012 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium is sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Urologic Oncology.