Brisk Walking Reduces Risk for Prostate Cancer Progression

Emma Hitt, PhD

June 06, 2011

June 6, 2011 — At least 3 hours per week of brisk walking after a diagnosis of clinically localized prostate cancer may inhibit or delay disease progression, according to new research findings.

Erin L. Richman, MD, with the Department of Epidemiology, at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues reported their findings in the June 1 issue of Cancer Research.

According to the researchers, their group was the first to report that "post-diagnostic vigorous activity was associated with a statistically significant 61% reduction in risk of prostate cancer–specific mortality among men diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer." However, they add that men with metastatic disease may decrease their activity because of their disease; thus, a causal interpretation is uncertain.

In the current study, the researchers further investigated the effect of vigorous activity, nonvigorous activity, walking duration, and walking pace after diagnosis and the risk for prostate cancer progression among men diagnosed with clinically localized prostate cancer.

A total of 1455 men diagnosed with clinically localized prostate cancer from the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE) trial were included in the analysis.

In all, 117 events occurred (45 biochemical recurrences, 66 secondary treatments, 3 bone metastases, 3 prostate cancer deaths) during 2750 person-years.

They found that men who walked briskly for 3 hours per week or more had a 57% lower rate of progression than men who walked at an easy pace for fewer hours per week (hazard ratio [HR], 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.21 - 0.91; P = .03).

In addition, a brisk walking pace was associated with a decreased risk for progression vs an easier pace of walking, independent of duration (HR brisk vs easy pace, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.29 - 0.91; P for trend = .01).

Vigorous activity seemed to further decrease risk, although fewer men engaged in this level of activity, and the association was not significant. Duration of walking and total nonvigorous activity were not associated with the risk for disease progression, however.

"Our results are consistent with the only other study of physical activity after diagnosis and clinical outcomes in prostate cancer survivors, and suggest significant clinical benefits of brisk walking for men with prostate cancer," Dr. Richman and colleagues conclude.

According to the researchers, brisk walking may reduce the risk for prostate cancer progression by "reducing insulin resistance, decreasing bioavailable IGFI [insulin-like growth factor I], and increasing adiponectin levels."

Cancer Res. 2011;71;3889-3895. Abstract