Here is a new reason to break some sweat in the gym – Pumping iron can protect you from cancer. Yes, you heard that right. Researchers believe that muscle buildup could be the key to fighting cancer cells effectively. A study published in Scientific Reports claims that sarcopenia, a disease which causes skeletal muscle loss results in a poor response to cancer treatments.
During the study, 38.1% non-sarcopenia patients remained free from treatment one year after therapy. On the other hand, only 10.1% patients did not develop tumor any further.
These researchers from Japan tested their theory on patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). They used treatment known as PD-1 or programmed death inhibitors, which work with the immune system to attack cancer cells. Currently, only a small portion of patients show promising recovery in these treatments. This is the concern that drove the researchers to conduct further study.
Research Promises to Improve Cancer Treatment
Cancer treatments are still rooted in a bleak ground reality. Sarcopenia or muscle degeneration increases the risk of a poor outcome in cancer treatments. Hence, researchers looked at the medical records of 42 patients. All these patients were diagnosed with advanced NSCLC and treated with PD-1 inhibitors.
The results of the study surprised the researchers immensely. Atsushi Kumanogoh, senior author of the study said, the treatment outcomes were surprisingly emphatic. He added, the results for patients with sarcopenia at the beginning of the treatment were far bleaker than those without.
Researchers concluded that the skeletal muscle has a significant importance in conducting PD-1 treatments. In the near future, cancer patients might be required to build body muscle in order to improve the efficacy of treatment. Further studies can promise a more concrete answer for cancer patients.