Do exercise and gut health ease prostate cancer?

Researchers will examine if exercise can counteract some of the side-effects associated with treatment for prostate cancer thanks to a $100,000 grant.


The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia awarded the New Concept Grant to researchers from Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) Exercise Medicine Research Institute (EMRI).


Lead researcher Professor Rob Newton said prostate cancer treatment can result in an imbalance of the bacteria in the gut leading to constipation, diarrhoea, incontinence and nausea which reduces quality of life and can also compromise treatment and recovery.


“Previous EMRI research has shown how exercise can improve the neuromuscular, skeletal, metabolic and immune health of men with prostate cancer,” he said.


“What we don’t fully understand is the interaction of exercise, cancer treatment and gut health.”


Professor Newton said there was evidence that exercise is beneficial to the gut bacteria of people without cancer.


“This will be the first research trial to evaluate whether exercise can exert beneficial effects on the gut microbiota and its metabolic profile of men with prostate cancer,” he said.


Professor Newton will collaborate with ECU researchers Professors Daniel Galvão and Dennis Taffe, ECU gut microbiome expert Professor Claus Christophersen, Director of the Centre for Integrative Metabolomics and Computational Biology Professor David Broadhurst and radiation oncology clinician Professor Nigel Spry.


This latest NHMRC funding follows previous recognition of ECU’s leading role in prostate cancer and exercise oncology research, including:

  • This grant is the thirdProstate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) grant for ECU EMRI in exercise and prostate cancer in addition to three National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grants, one Cancer Australia grant and multiple Cancer Council Western Australia grants, providing continual externally competitive funding to ECU’s EMRI for over a decade.
  • In 2016 ECU is co-lead in the NHMRC’s $2.5 million Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in Prostate Cancer Survivorship.
  • In 2016 ECU was chosen, along with University of California, San Francisco, to oversee the $10 million Movember Global Action Plan 4 to extend the lives of men with prostate cancer with targeted exercise medicine.
  • ECU EMRI co-authored national exercise guidelines for cancer patients by Exercise and Sports Science Australia and international guidelines by the American College of Sports Medicine.

ECU EMRI is the most published Research Institute in exercise oncology in Australia and the most published in exercise and prostate cancer in the World.


10 December 2017.