Genetic associations of fatigue and other symptoms following breast cancer treatment: A prospective study

B. Cameron, K. Webber, H. Li, B. K. Bennett, F. Boyle, Paul de Souza, N. Wilcken, J. Lynch, Michael L. Friedlander, D. Goldstein, A. R. Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background Cancer-related fatigue, mood disturbances, pain and cognitive disturbance are common after adjuvant cancer therapy, but vary considerably between individuals despite common disease features and treatment exposures. A genetic basis for this variability was explored in a prospective cohort. Methods Physical and psychological health of women were assessed prospectively following therapy for early stage breast cancer with self-report questionnaires. Participation in a genetic association sub-study was offered. Indices for the key symptom domains of fatigue, pain, depression, anxiety, and neurocognitive difficulties were empirically derived by principal components analysis from end-treatment questionnaires, and then applied longitudinally. Genetic associations were sought with functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine genes - tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α (-308 GG), interferon (IFN)-ɣ (+874 TA), interleukin (IL)-10 (1082 GA and -592 CA), IL-6 (-174 GC), IL-1β (-511 GA). Results Questionnaire data was available for 210 participants, of whom 111 participated in the genetic sub-study. As expected, symptom domain scores generally improved over several months following treatment completion. Tumour and adjuvant treatment related factors were unassociated with either severity or duration of the individual symptom domains, but severity of symptoms at end-treatment was strongly associated with duration for each domain (all p
Original languageEnglish
Article number100189
Number of pages8
JournalBrain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • cancer-related fatigue
  • post-cancer fatigue
  • breast cancer
  • symptom domain
  • cytokine gene polymorphism

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