Association of childhood trauma with fatigue, depression, stress, and inflammation in breast cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



This pilot study examined whether breast cancer patients with childhood trauma exhibit increased fatigue, depression, and stress in association with inflammation as a result of whole breast radiotherapy (RT).


Twenty breast cancer patients were enrolled in a prospective, longitudinal study of fatigue, depression, and perceived stress prior to RT, week 6 of RT, and 6 weeks post-RT. Six weeks after RT, subjects completed the childhood trauma questionnaire (CTQ). Patients were also administered the multidimensional fatigue inventory, inventory of depressive symptomatology-self-reported, and perceived stress scale at all three time-points and underwent blood sampling prior to RT for gene expression and inflammatory markers previously associated with childhood trauma and behavioral symptoms in breast cancer patients.


Eight subjects (40%) had past childhood trauma (CTQ+). Compared to CTQ− patients, CTQ+ patients had significantly higher fatigue, depression, and stress scores before, during, and after RT (p< 0.05); however, RT did not increase these symptoms in either group. CTQ+ patients also exhibited increased baseline expression of gene transcripts related to inflammatory signaling, and baseline inflammatory markers includingc-reactive protein, interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-1 receptor antagonist were positively correlated with depression, fatigue, and stress scores in CTQ+ but not CTQ− patients.


Childhood trauma was prevalent and was associated with increased symptoms of fatigue, depression, and stress irrespective of RT. Increased symptoms in CTQ+ patients were also associated with baseline inflammatory markers. Treatments targeting childhood trauma and related inflammation may improve symptoms in breast cancer patients. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles