Endurance training slows breast tumor growth in mice by suppressing Treg cells recruitment to tumors

Amit Hagar, Zemin Wang, Sachiko Koyama, Josua Aponte Serrano, Luma Melo, Stephanie Vargas, Richard Carpenter, John Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Background: Aerobic exercise has been shown to slow tumor progression in rodents and humans, but the mechanisms behind this effect are still unclear. Here we show that aerobic exercise in the form of chronic endurance training suppresses tumor recruitment of FoxP3+ Treg cells thus enhancing antitumor immune efficiency. Methods: Adult wild-type and athymic BALB/c female mice were endurance-trained for 8 weeks. Circulating leukocytes as well as muscle and liver mtDNA copy number were compared to aged-matched concurrent sedentary controls to establish systemic effects. 4 T1 murine mammary tumor cells were injected subcutaneously to the 4th mammary pad at the end of the training period. Tumor growth and survival rates were compared, together with antitumor immune response. Results: Exercised wild-type had 17% slower growth rate, 24% longer survival, and 2-fold tumor-CD+ 8/FoxP3+ ratio than sedentary controls. Exercised athymic BALB/c females showed no difference in tumor growth or survival rates when compared to sedentary controls. Conclusions: Cytotoxic T cells are a significant factor in endurance exercise-induced suppression of tumor growth. Endurance exercise enhances antitumor immune efficacy by increasing intratumoral CD8+/FoxP3+ ratio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number536
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 4 2019



  • CD8/FoxP3 ratio
  • Endurance exercise
  • Forced running wheels
  • Hypoxia
  • Murine mammary tumor
  • Solid tumor progression
  • Treg cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Hagar, A., Wang, Z., Koyama, S., Serrano, J. A., Melo, L., Vargas, S., Carpenter, R., & Foley, J. (2019). Endurance training slows breast tumor growth in mice by suppressing Treg cells recruitment to tumors. BMC Cancer, 19(1), [536]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-019-5745-7