Many cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy feel tired and rundown even after their treatments end. This constant tiredness or fatigue can greatly interfere with patients’ quality of life. Previous research suggests that inflammation from the radiation treatment causes fatigue to develop, but it is still unclear what causes this fatigue or why fatigue can vary so much among patients.
In a recent study, a team of scientists led by Dr. Leorey Saligan of the Division of Intramural Research at the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) analyzed the genomes of men with prostate cancer, who were experiencing significant fatigue a year after radiation treatment. The study found that certain genes helped predict which patients were more likely to experience fatigue. Studies like this one could help find potential ways to treat cancer-related fatigue based on people’s genetic makeup. To view the study’s abstract, go to: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29849049.