Jean-Francois Dufour of Inselspital, the Bern University Hospital, said two groups of mice were fed a control diet and a high-fat diet. The mice were divided into separate exercise and sedentary groups. The exercise groups ran on a motorized treadmill for 60 minutes per day, five days a week.
After 32 weeks of regular exercise, 71 percent of mice on the controlled diet developed tumors larger than 10 millimeter versus 100 percent in the sedentary group. The mean number and volume of hepatocellular carcinoma tumors per liver was also reduced in the exercise group compared to the sedentary group.
Dufour said the data showed the significant benefit of regular exercise on the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.
"We know that modern, unhealthy lifestyles predispose people to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which may lead to liver cancer; but it's been previously unknown whether regular exercise reduces the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma," Dufour said in a statement. "This research is significant because it opens the door for further studies to prove that regular exercise can reduce the chance of people developing hepatocellular carcinoma."
The research was presented at the International Liver Congress in Amsterdam.