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Caffeine and Exercise May Be Protective Against Skin Cancer Caused by Sun Exposure

April 3, 2012
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  • Caffeine and exercise decreased risk for sunlight-caused skin cancers in mice.
  • Results suggest that fat and tumor growth are related.
  • Findings link caffeine and exercise with lower levels of inflammation.

CHICAGO — The combined effects of exercise plus caffeine consumption may be able to ward off skin cancer and also prevent inflammation related to other obesity-linked cancers.

“We found that this combination treatment can decrease sunlight-caused skin cancer formation in a mouse model,” said Yao-Ping Lu, Ph.D., associate research professor of chemical biology and director of skin cancer prevention at the Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy in Piscataway, N.J. He presented these findings at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012, held here March 31 – April 4.

“I believe we may extrapolate these findings to humans and anticipate that we would benefit from these combination treatments as well,” Lu added.

The researchers evaluated the effects of caffeine and exercise on mice at high risk for developing skin cancer. Results showed that mice that took a dose of caffeine and exercised with a running wheel experienced 62 percent fewer skin tumors. The volume of tumors also decreased by 85 percent compared with the mice that did not consume caffeine or exercise.

Positive effects were found with either caffeine or exercise alone, but to a lesser extent. Researchers observed a 27 percent reduction in tumors in caffeine-only mice and a 61 percent reduction in tumor size. In the exercise-only mice, researchers found that tumor activity decreased by 35 percent and tumor volume decreased by 70 percent.

The researchers also found that exercise and caffeine reduced weight and inflammation. They fed mice a high-fat diet of omega-6 fatty acid-rich foods and measured the volume of the parametrial fat pad (the largest fat pad in a mouse) after two weeks of exercise and/or caffeine treatment.

Mice that had caffeine and exercised had a fat pad weight decrease of 63 percent. Caffeine-only mice had a 30 percent decrease, and exercise-only mice had a 56 percent decrease. Development and size of cancer decreased as well. The link, Lu believes, is inflammation, which dropped as much as 92 percent in mice that exercised and consumed caffeine.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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Press registration for the AACR Annual Meeting 2012 is free to qualified journalists and public information officers: www.aacr.org/PressRegistration.

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About the AACR

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR’s membership includes 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 18,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes seven peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration and scientific oversight of individual and team science grants in cancer research that have the potential for patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer.  

For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org.

Media Contact:
Jeremy Moore
(215) 446-7109
Jeremy.Moore@aacr.org
In Chicago, March 31 – April 4:
(312) 528-8206

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