Physical activity and prostate tumor vessel morphology: data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study

Vigorous activity is associated with lower risk of prostate cancer progression, but biologic mechanisms are unknown. Exercise affects vascularization of tumors in animal models, and small, irregularly shaped vessels in prostate tumors are associated with fatal prostate cancer.

We hypothesized that men who engaged in vigorous activity or brisk walking would have larger, more regularly shaped vessels in their prostate tumors. We prospectively examined whether physical activity was associated with prostate tumor microvessel morphology among 571 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study using ordinal logistic regression. Vessel size (µm(2)), vessel lumen regularity (perimeter(2) / 4 · Π · area), and microvessel density (number per high powered field) were ascertained in tumor sections stained for endothelial cell marker CD34.

Vigorous activity [metabolic equivalent task (MET) ≥ 6], non-vigorous activity (MET <6), and walking pace were assessed a median of 14 months prior to diagnosis. Prostate tumors from men who reported a brisk walking pace (3+ mph) had larger, more regularly shaped blood vessels compared to those of men who walked at a less than brisk pace [vessel regularity odds ratio (OR): 1.59; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.11, 2.27; p-value: 0.01; vessel size OR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.04, 2.12; p-value: 0.03].

Brisk walking was not associated with microvessel density; total vigorous and non-vigorous activities were not associated with vessel size, shape, or number. Brisk walking may be associated with larger, more regularly shaped vessels in prostate tumors. Additional research elucidating the effect of physical activity on prostate tumor biology is needed.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015 Aug 14. pii: canprevres.0132.2015. [Epub ahead of print]

Van Blarigan EL1, Gerstenberger JP2, Kenfield SA3, Giovannucci EL4, Stampfer M5, Jones LW6, Clinton SK7, Chan JM8, Mucci LA9.

1 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco
2 School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.
3 Urology, University of California, San Francisco.
4 Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health.
5 Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School.
6 Department of Medicine (Cardiology Service), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
7 Division of Medical Oncology, Wexner Medical Center.
8 Dept of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Urology, University of California San Francisco.
9 Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School.

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