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Metabolic, Health and Lifestyle Profiling of Breast Cancer Radiotherapy Patients and the Risk of Developing Fatigue

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DOI: 10.4236/jct.2012.325092    3,884 Downloads   5,558 Views


Background: Fatigue is commonly reported by cancer patients. In some instances it can persist after treatment is completed. In order to develop effective treatment strategies it is important to understand the mechanisms underlying the development of fatigue and to be able to predict those that may be at greatest risk of experiencing fatigue during and following treatment. The current paper examines predisposing factors for fatigue including altered fatty acid homeostasis in a cohort of breast cancer radiotherapy patients. Methodology: Patients had undergone breast-conserving surgery and adjuvant breast irradiation. Prior to radiotherapy the patients were free from significant fatigue. Levels of fatigue were determined prior to and following radiotherapy using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy fatigue subscale. Plasma fatty acid levels, urinary and plasma amino acid levels, blood biochemistry factors and general health and lifestyle characteristics were assessed. Results: Following radiotherapy, significant fatigue affected approximately one third of the 26 patients and these subjects were then assigned to the fatigued cohort. Univariate analysis revealed that higher levels of the fatty acids myristic acid and eicosadienoic acid were present for the fatigued cohort prior to radiotherapy. Multivariate analysis also revealed that fatty acid homeostasis was altered between the fatigued and non-fatigued groups at baseline. Orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis of the general health, lifestyle and metabolic data revealed that the fatigued and non-fatigued patients could be clustered into two clearly separate groups. Conclusions: The results supported the proposition that the fatigued patients had an underlying metabolic homeostasis which may predispose them to the development of fatigue. Biochemical and general health profiling of breast cancer patients has the potential to identify those at most risk of developing significant fatigue following radiotherapy.

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R. Hugh Dunstan, D. L. Sparkes, C. Wratten, J. W. Denham, J. Gottfries, T. K. Roberts and M. M. Macdonald, "Metabolic, Health and Lifestyle Profiling of Breast Cancer Radiotherapy Patients and the Risk of Developing Fatigue," Journal of Cancer Therapy, Vol. 3 No. 5A, 2012, pp. 731-740. doi: 10.4236/jct.2012.325092.

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