Background: While the Self-Control Exercise (SCE), known also as Guolin Qigong, has been used in China for cancer survival for more than 40 years and many cancer survivors have
benefited from this exercise, the possible biological mechanisms of this exercise has not been understood. This study was aimed to explore the relationship among several possible mechanisms of SCE
intervention in cancer survivorship.
Methods: 36 malignant tumor patients (17 males & 19 females; M±SD: Age in yr: 61.98±7.31; Cancer survival yr: 16.54±4.12) who had survived and kept SCE practice for over 10 years were
recruited for the study. Their cancer history, general well-Being schedule(GWB) and index of well-being(IWB) were surveyed, resting metabolic rate (RMR) measured by Fitmate gas analyzer, the activity
of super oxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), total antioxygen capability (T-AOC), malonaldehyde (MDA) in serum were collected. The lymphocyte surface antigen
CD3/CD4/CD8/CD(16+56)/CD19/CD4CD25 were examined by direct immunofluorescence staining and flow cytometry. Kendall τ coefficients were computed to measure the correlations among these variables.
Results: It was found that CD3+ is moderately correlated with GWB (tau=0.460, p<0.01), IWB (tau=0.474, p<0.01) and RMR (tau=0.428, p<0.01), respectively, and RMR is also positively
correlated with GWB (tau=0.660, p<0.01) and IWB (tau=0.450, p<0.01). There is a low, but positive correlation between MDA and SOD (tau=0.266, p<0.05). In addition, there is a low and negative
correlation between CD4+CD25+ and CD(16+56)+ (tau=-0.292, p<0.05).
Conclusions: The lymphocyte subsets, free radical, and psychological state all could affect cancer survival and there seem synergistic or antagonistic effects and interaction among
them. The low-to-moderate correlations between immune system and psychological state measures indicate that SCE may benefit to the long-term cancer survivors from improved immune function,
psychological state and their interactions.