2014 Volume 233 Issue 1 Pages 17-23
Aging increases the risk of chronic diseases including cancers. Physical exercise has the beneficial effects for the elderly susceptible to the development of cancers, through maintaining a healthy body condition and improving the immune system. However, excessive or insufficient exercise might increase the risk for cancer. In the present study, we investigated what exercise frequency improves cancer-related biomarkers, such as carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), alpha fetoprotein (AFP), red blood cell (RBC), and white blood cell (WBC), and the body composition of elderly women. Fifty-four females, aged 70 to 77 years, were divided into 4 groups: control, 1-day exercise (1E), 2-3-day exercise (2-3E), and 5-day exercise (5E) groups. The control group did not participate in any physical activity, while the subjects in the exercise groups underwent the exercise program for 12 weeks. As results, CEA was significantly decreased in the exercise groups, with the lowest values in 2-3E group. In contrast, AFP, RBC and WBC were not significantly changed. CEA is an oncofetal glycoprotein that is overexpressed in adenocarcinomas. Although the function of CEA has not been fully understood, CEA has been suggested to be involved in the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines via stimulating monocytes and macrophages. Moreover, body weight and body mass index were improved in the exercise groups, with the lowest levels in 5E group. Thus, we suggest that exercise for 2-3 days per week decreases the expression of CEA and improves body condition, without loading fatigue or stress, which may contribute to preventing cancer in the elderly women.