Nav: Home

Biomarkers link fatigue in cancer, Parkinson's

August 09, 2018

Biological markers responsible for extreme exhaustion in patients with cancer have now been linked to fatigue in those with Parkinson's disease, according to new research from Rice University.

"Inflammation and fatigue in early, untreated Parkinson's disease" will appear in an upcoming edition of Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. It is one of the first studies to link the biomarkers responsible for fatigue in patients with cancer and patients with Parkinson's.

The researchers examined blood samples from 47 patients with Parkinson's disease, half of whom experienced high levels of fatigue, which is characterized by feeling severely tired and unable to engage in usual activities and is disruptive to one's work and social life and daily routines.

Chris Fagundes, an assistant professor of psychology at Rice and one of the study's lead authors, said that although Parkinson's disease is not fatal, patients often complain that fatigue is one of the most common and disabling side effects and a contributor to reduced quality of life.

"The No. 1 complaint among Parkinson's disease sufferers is chronic fatigue," Fagundes said.

The researchers found that individuals with Parkinson's disease who suffered from fatigue had elevated levels of the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) inflammatory biomarkers. Interestingly, elevated levels of inflammatory markers such as these are also linked to fatigue in patients with cancer.

This is the one of the first times these biomarkers has been linked to fatigue in patients with Parkinson's, Fagundes said. His previous research has focused on the link between specific biomarkers and cancer-related fatigue, and he said this study was a great opportunity to take work from one area and help a separate population.

"This opportunity came about in an unexpected way," Fagundes said. "I was invited to a symposium with a panel of world-renowned experts on Parkinson's disease in Chicago. Although I had no expert knowledge related to this disease, I was invited because I have published on the biobehavioral mechanisms that underlie cancer-related fatigue. The panel was interested in my perspective."

"After presenting data related to what we know about cancer-related fatigue, we surmised it was possible that the mechanisms were similar. In collaboration with Karen Herlofson, a physician who treats patients with Parkinson's in Western Europe, we carried out a study examining fatigue and inflammation in patients with Parkinson's thanks to a grant from the Parkinson's Foundation."

The researchers hope the discovery will allow health care providers to target specific treatments that can lower the levels of the inflammatory biomarkers and in turn improve the quality of life for the patients impacted.

"This discovery may help health professionals to develop treatments that target the biological mechanisms underlying fatigue," Fagundes said. "By targeting the biological mechanism rather than simply teaching patients how to cope with the symptoms, we could potentially alleviate fatigue in these patients."
-end-
Herlofson of the department of neurology at Sorlandet Hospital in Norway, Cobi Heijnen of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Johannes Lange and Guido Alves of the Norwegian Centre for Movement Disorders and Stavanger University Hospital in Norway, Ole-Bjorn Tysnes of the departments of neurology and clinical medicine at Haukeland University Hospital in Norway, and Joseph Friedman of Brown University Medical School and Butler Hospital in Providence, R.I., were co-authors of the paper.

The research was funded by the Parkinson's Foundation and is available online at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/ane.12977.

This news release can be found online at news.rice.edu.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations on Twitter @RiceUNews.

For more information, contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or amym@rice.edu.

Related Materials:

Chris Fagundes bio: https://psychology.rice.edu/christopher-fagundes

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.

Rice University

Related Cancer Articles:

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.