Preservation of Immune Function in Cervical Cancer Patientsduring Chemoradiation using a Novel Integrative Approach


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Susan K. Lutgendorf, Elizabeth Mullen-Houser, Daniel Russell,Koen DeGeest, Geraldine Jacobson, Laura Hart, David Bender, Barrie Anderson, Thomas E. Buekers, Michael J. Goodheart, MichaelH. Antoni, Anil K. Sood, and David M. Lubaroff


Brain Behav Immun.







Patients receiving chemoradiation for cervical cancer are at risk for distress, chemoradiation-related side-effects, and immunosuppression. This prospective randomized clinical trial examinedeffects of a complementary therapy, Healing Touch (HT), versus relaxation training (RT) andusual care (UC) for 1) supporting cellular immunity, 2) improving mood and quality of life(QOL), and 3) reducing treatment-associated toxicities and treatment delay in cervical cancerpatients receiving chemoradiation. Sixty women with stages IB1 to IVA cervical cancer wererandomly assigned to receive UC or 4×/weekly individual sessions of either HT or RTimmediately following radiation during their 6-week chemoradiation treatment. Patientscompleted psychosocial assessments and blood sampling before chemoradiation at baseline, weeks4 and 6. Multilevel regression analyses using orthogonal contrasts tested for differences betweentreatment conditions over time. HT patients had a minimal decrease in natural killer cellcytotoxicity (NKCC) over the course of treatment whereas NKCC of RT and UC patients declined sharply during chemoradiation (group by time interaction: p=0.018). HT patients showed greaterdecreases in 2 different indicators of depressed mood (CESD depressed mood subscale and POMSdepression scale) compared to RT and UC (group by time interactions: p < 0.05). No betweengroup differences were observed in QOL, treatment delay, or clinically-rated toxicities. HT maybenefit cervical cancer patients by moderating effects of chemoradiation on depressed mood andcellular immunity. Effects of HT on toxicities, treatment delay, QOL, and fatigue were not observed. Long-term clinical implications of findings are not known.

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