Researchers have found that regular exercise could help prevent the most common type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma by activating a gene that suppresses tumour growth. The study, published in the Journal of Hepatology, in an animal model provides strong evidence that voluntary exercise could help prevent the most common type of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, and identifies the molecular signalling pathways involved. Fatty liver disease is common with obesity and diabetes and contributes to rapidly increasing rates of liver cancer throughout the world.
More than 800,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with this cancer each year. It is also a leading cause of cancer deaths, accounting globally for more than 700,000 deaths each year.Mice genetically driven to eat so that they become obese and develop type 2 diabetes as young adults were injected early in life with a low dose of a cancer-causing agent. Half of the mice were allowed regular access to a running wheel; the other half were not and remained sedentary.The mice ran up to 40 kms a day as measured by rotations of the exercise wheel. This slowed down the weight gain for three months, but at the end of six months of experiments, even the exercising mice were obese. At six months, most of the sedentary mice had liver cancer while none of the exercising mice had developed it . This research shows that exercise can stop the development of liver cancer in mice that have fatty liver disease related to obesity and type 2 diabetes.