A muscular physique has always been something that people wanted and worked for. People go to the gym every day to build muscle, and historically, people have admired those with muscular physiques. However, it turns out that having a muscular physique isn’t just beneficial in terms of how you look, but it could also protect you against cancer.
How Muscle Mass Can Benefit the Fight Against Cancer
Researchers from Osaka University in Japan recently published a study in Scientific Reports focusing on sarcopenia, a disease that causes the loss of skeletal muscle mass. The study revealed that sarcopenia is associated with poor response to treatments for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (referred to as programmed death inhibitors, or PD-1 inhibitors).
PD-1 inhibitors are a new class of drugs that work along with the immune systems of patients to increase their ability to attack cancer cells. For those PD-1 inhibitors to be effective, the patient must have a strong immune system. One of the current challenges involved with their use is that only a specific subset of patients experienced long-term, progression-free survival rates.
One of the risk factors associated with poor outcomes for a number of different types of cancer is sarcopenia. This is because a dysregulated immune system leads to muscle degradation. The study focused on the medical results of 42 subjects with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. They were treated with PD-1 inhibitors and had undergone a skeletal muscle mass assessment before being treated. It turned out that patients that had sarcopenia before starting treatment had much worse outcomes than those without sarcopenia.
The study basically revealed the baseline skeletal muscle mass of an individual has a big impact on how effective PD-1 inhibitors are against cancer. Unfortunately, muscle degradation is common in patients with advanced cancer, but there are drugs that could help increase skeletal muscle mass prior to treatment.