Does exercise lower systemic inflammation and improve chemotherapy efficacy in cancer patients?

Status: Complete
Year: 2016

Obese cancer patients tend to respond more poorly to chemotherapy and have more rapid disease recurrence and shorter survival times. One reason for this is that obesity leads to low-level chronic inflammation that fuels the development and spread of cancers. Little is known about how this systemic obesity-related inflammation affects the way cancer patients metabolise chemotherapy drugs.

Therefore, this project aims to (1) measure circulating inflammatory proteins that may be used to identify patients who will respond poorly to chemotherapy and are at high risk of worse survival, (2) use cell culture studies to explore the way obesity-related inflammatory proteins may alter chemotherapy drug metabolism by the liver, and (3) perform an exploratory patient study that will use fitbits to monitor exercise during chemotherapy treatment, as well as measure circulating inflammatory proteins, patient liver enzyme activity and drug metabolism, and patient well being during treatment.

This project will form the basis for ongoing studies at the University of Otago Christchurch into the potential benefits of moderate exercise during chemotherapy treatment.

Researcher // Associate Professor Margaret Currie – University of Otago

Associate Professor Margaret Currie is interested in how the tumour microenvironment affects tumour growth, tumour cell metastasis and tumour response to therapy. The local tumour microenvironment is the milieu within which the tumour develops, and includes tumour blood vessels, other cells types (e.g. immune cells, fibroblasts, adipocytes), soluble growth factors and signalling molecules.

More About Associate Professor Margaret Currie

What is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy (often abbreviated to chemo and sometimes CTX or CTx) is a type of cancer treatment that uses one or more anti-cancer drugs (chemotherapeutic agents) as part of a standardized chemotherapy regimen. Chemotherapy may be given with a curative intent (which almost always involves combinations of drugs), or it may aim to prolong life or to reduce symptoms (palliative chemotherapy). Chemotherapy is one of the major categories of the medical discipline specifically devoted to pharmacotherapy for cancer, which is called medical oncology.

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