Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Biomedical Sciences

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

James M. Reuben, Ph.D

Committee Member

Eduardo Bruera, M.D.

Committee Member

Dave Balachandran, MD

Committee Member

Alessandra Ferrajoli, M.D

Committee Member

Jonathan Trent, M.D, Ph.D.


Background: Inflammation is implicated in the development of cancer related fatigue (CRF). However there is limited literature on the mediators of inflammation (namely), cytokines and their receptors, associated with clinically significant fatigue and response to treatment.

Methods: We reviewed 37 advanced cancer patients with fatigue (≥4/10), who participated in two Randomized Controlled Trials, of anti-inflammatory agents (Thalidomide and Dexamethasone) for CRF. Responders showed improvement in FACIT-F subscale at the end of study (Day 15). Baseline patient characteristics and symptoms were assessed by FACIT-F, ESAS; serum cytokines [IL-1β and receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), IL-6, IL-6R, TNF-α and sTNF-R1 and R2, IL-8, IL-10, IL-17] levels measured by Luminex. Data were analyzed using principal component analysis (PCA) [reporting cumulative variance (variance) for the first four components] to determine their association with fatigue and response to treatment.
Results: Females were 54%. Mean (SD) was as follows for age, 61(14); baseline FACIT (F) scores, 21.4(8.6); ESAS Fatigue item, 6.5(1.9); and FACIT-F change, 6.4(9.7); ESAS (fatigue) change, -2 (2.41). Baseline median in pg/mL for IL-6, TNF-α, IL-1β were 31.9; 18.9; 0.55, respectively. Change in IL-6 negatively correlated with change in FACIT-F scores (p=0.02). Baseline CRF (FACIT-F score) was associated with IL-6, IL-6R and IL-17, Variance = 78% whereas IL-10, IL-1RA, TNF-α and IL-1β were associated with improvement of CRF, Variance=74%. Conversely, IL-6 and IL-8 were associated with no improvement or worsening of CRF, Variance= 93%.
Conclusions: Change in IL-6 negatively correlated with change in FACIT-F scores. IL-6, IL-6R and IL-17 are associated with CRF while IL-6 and IL-8 were associated with no improvement of CRF. Further studies are warranted confirm our findings.


Cancer related fatigue, serum cytokines, correlations

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