Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
December 01, 2021
2 min read

Yoga improves quality of life, immune response in men with prostate cancer

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Yoga therapy improved quality of life, immune responses and expression of inflammatory cytokines in men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer, according to results of a pilot randomized controlled trial.

“What we found was very interesting,” Dharam Kaushik, MD, an associate professor of urology in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio and a cancer surgeon with the Mays Cancer Center, said in a press release. “Yoga improved quality of life in men compared to the standard of care, specifically on the fatigue scale, meaning they were less tired, on sexual function and on their functional, physical and social well-being.”

Man doing yoga
Man practicing yoga. Source: Adobe Stock.

Kaushik and colleagues randomly assigned 29 men newly diagnosed with localized prostate cancer to yoga treatment for 6 weeks (n = 14) or standard care (n = 15) before a radical prostatectomy. The intervention group had a median age of 56 years compared with 60 years in the control group.

Men in the intervention group practiced yoga at least twice a week for 60 to 75 minutes. The sessions were led by certified instructors from the ThriveWell Cancer Foundation and a yoga studio in San Antonio. They used the Hatha yoga method, which focuses on physical postures and gentle breathing, according to the researchers.

To assess the benefits of yoga therapy, Kaushik and colleagues administered questionnaires to participants to document their quality of life. They also took blood samples to analyze changes in immune cell status and cytokine levels.

Men in the intervention group experienced a statistically significant reduction in expression of inflammatory cytokines (P = .032), according to the researchers. This finding suggests that “yoga attenuates the inflammatory response,” they wrote.

Moreover, there was a trend toward improvement in sexual function, fatigue, general quality of life and prostate-specific quality of life, although the difference between the intervention and control groups was statistically insignificant. Those in the intervention group also exhibited increased numbers of circulating CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, more production of interferon-gamma by natural killer cells and increased Fc receptor III expression in natural killer cells. They also had decreased numbers of regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells, indicating antitumor activity, according to Kaushik and colleagues.

“This is positive data and further large-scale studies are needed, for which this pilot study can be a model,” Kaushik said in the release. “If we are able to encourage patients to do a small, inexpensive and easy-to-implement intervention that can have a big impact, then why not?”


Kaushik D, et al. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2021;doi:10.1038/s41391-021-00470-w.

Yoga improves quality of life in men with new diagnosis of prostate cancer. https://news.uthscsa.edu/yoga-improves-quality-of-life-in-men-with-new-diagnosis-of-prostate-cancer-2/. Published Nov. 29, 2021. Accessed Nov. 30, 2021.