Disrupting circadian rhythms promotes cancer-induced inflammation in mice

Adam J. Lawther, Andrew J.K. Phillips, Ni-Chun Chung, Aeson Chang, Alexandra I. Ziegler, Sophie Debs, Erica K. Sloan, Adam K. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Disruption of circadian rhythms occurs in rotating shift-work, jetlag, and in individuals with irregular sleep schedules. Circadian disruption is known to alter inflammatory responses and impair immune function. However, there is limited understanding of how circadian disruption modulates cancer-induced inflammation. Inflammation is a hallmark of cancer and is linked to worse prognosis and impaired brain function in cancer patients. Here, we investigated the effect of circadian disruption on cancer-induced inflammation in an orthotopic breast cancer model. Using a validated chronic jetlag protocol that advances the light-cycle by 8 ​h every 2 days to disrupt circadian rhythms, we found that circadian disruption alters cancer-induced inflammation in a tissue-specific manner, increasing inflammation in the body and brain while decreasing inflammation within the tumor tissue. Circadian disruption did not affect inflammation in mice without tumors, suggesting that the impact of circadian disruption may be particularly detrimental in the context of underlying inflammatory conditions, such as cancer. Importantly, circadian disruption did not affect tumor burden, suggesting that increased inflammation was not a result of increased cancer progression. Overall, these findings identify the importance of healthy circadian rhythms for limiting cancer-induced inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100428
Number of pages9
JournalBrain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • 4T1 breast Cancer
  • Chronic jetlag
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Clock genes
  • Cytokines
  • Metastasis
  • Neuroinflammation

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