Researchers are now suggesting that there might be a relationship between the state of cancer patients' genetic structure and their quality of life during cancer treatment.
For the study researchers evaluated quality of life in nearly 500 patients who had metastatic colorectal cancer. Before patients ever received chemotherapy, quality of life and genetic marker data were evaluated. Patients were treated with a new regimen that involves common side effects, such as fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, low white blood cell count, dehydration, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. All have a high impact on quality of life.
Patients responded to questionnaires addressing quality of life, and DNA samples were taken. The research focused on three folate genes, which the researchers say are a critical gauge of cellular health and have a known association with risk of disease and measure of health.
Results show patients who had two variant forms of the gene DPYD were significantly less likely than those with a normal version of the same gene to experience fatigue. Other findings show patients with a specific marker near the TYMS gene were more likely than those without the marker to experience distress and fatigue.
Researchers say the associations between DPYD or TYMS and quality of life are encouraging. They say that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that there may indeed be a link between genetic structure and quality of life and that they can now identify [those] who have a genetic predisposition to fatigue, stress or other quality of life deficits and thereby help specialists intervene early and help patients deal with these issues.