Physical activity, body mass index, and prostaglandin E2 levels in rectal mucosa

María Elena Martínez, David Heddens, David L. Earnest, Cheryl L. Bogert, Denise Roe, Janine Einspahr, James R. Marshall, David S. Alberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Background: Evidence suggests a relationship between prostaglandin levels in colonic mucosa and risk of colon cancer. Physical inactivity and a higher body mass index (BMI; weight in kilograms divided by [height in meters]2) have been consistently shown to increase risk of this cancer. We investigated whether higher levels of leisure-time physical activity or a lower BMI was associated with lower concentrations of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in rectal mucosa. Methods: This study was conducted in 41 men and 22 women, 42-78 years of age, with a history of polyps, who participated in a randomized clinical trial testing the effects of piroxicam on rectal mucosal PGE2 levels. An [125I]PGE2 radioimmunoassay kit was used to determine PGE2 levels in samples of extracted rectal mucosa collected before randomization. Leisure-time physical activity was assessed through a self- administered questionnaire collected at baseline. The reported time spent at each activity per week was multiplied by its typical energy expenditure, expressed in metabolic equivalents (METs), to yield a MET-hours per week score. A repeated measures model was used to assess the effect of BMI and physical activity as predictors of PGE2 concentration. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results: After adjustment for age, a higher BMI was associated with higher PGE2 levels (P = .001). A higher level of leisure- time physical activity was inversely associated with PGE2 concentration (P<.03). An increase in BMI from 24.2 to 28.8 kg/m2 was associated with a 27% increase in PGE2. An increase in activity level from 5.2-to 27.7 MET- hours per week was associated with a 28% decrease in PGE2. Conclusions: Physical activity and obesity may alter the risk of colon cancer through their effects on PGE2 synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)950-953
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical activity, body mass index, and prostaglandin E<sub>2</sub> levels in rectal mucosa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this