Cytokine gene variation is associated with depressive symptom trajectories in oncology patients and family caregivers

Laura B. Dunn, Bradley E. Aouizerat, Dale J. Langford, Bruce A. Cooper, Anand Dhruva, Janine K. Cataldo, Christina R. Baggott, John D. Merriman, Marylin Dodd, Claudia West, Steven M. Paul, Christine Miaskowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Depressive symptoms are common in cancer patients and their family caregivers (FCs). While these symptoms are characterized by substantial interindividual variability, the factors that predict this variability remain largely unknown. This study sought to confirm latent classes of oncology patients and FCs with distinct depressive symptom trajectories and to examine differences in phenotypic and genotypic characteristics among these classes. Method: Among 167 oncology outpatients with breast, prostate, lung, or brain cancer and 85 of their FCs, growth mixture modeling (GMM) was used to identify latent classes of individuals based on Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) scores obtained prior to, during, and for four months following completion of radiation therapy. One hundred four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes in 15 candidate cytokine genes were interrogated for differences between the two largest latent classes. Multivariate logistic regression analyses assessed effects of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics on class membership. Results: Four latent classes were confirmed: Resilient (56.3%), Subsyndromal (32.5%), Delayed (5.2%), and Peak (6.0%). Participants who were younger, female, non-white, and who reported higher baseline trait and state anxiety were more likely to be in the Subsyndromal, Delayed, or Peak groups. Variation in three cytokine genes (i.e., interleukin 1 receptor 2 [IL1R2], IL10, tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNFA]), age, and performance status predicted membership in the Resilient versus Subsyndromal classes. Conclusions: Findings confirm the four latent classes of depressive symptom trajectories previously identified in a sample of breast cancer patients. Variations in cytokine genes may influence variability in depressive symptom trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-353
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Cancer
  • Cytokines
  • Depression
  • Family caregivers
  • Genetics
  • Growth mixture modeling
  • Radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)


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