Influence of catechol-o-methyltransferase genotype (Val158Met) on endocrine, sympathetic nervous and mucosal immune systems in breast cancer survivors.Breast 2012; 21(2):199-203B
Stress can play an important role in development of cancer-related fatigue (CRF) by activating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), and altering the immune system. This study examined the influence of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met genotypes on salivary markers of HPA axis (cortisol), SNS (α-amylase) and immune (IgA) systems, as well as on CRF in breast cancer survivors (BCS). One-hundred BCS participated. After amplifying Val158Met COMT polymorphisms by polymerase chain reaction, three COMT genotypes were considered: Val/Val, Val/Met, Met/Met. Salivary cortisol, α-amylase activity, salivary flow rate, and IgA concentration were collected from non-stimulated saliva. CRF was assessed with the fatigue subscale of the Profile of Mood State (POMS) questionnaire. We found that BCS carrying Met/Met genotype reported higher cortisol concentration, α-amylase activity and greater CRF than those with Val/Met (P < 0.05) and Val/Val (P < 0.001) genotypes. No differences in salivary flow rate or IgA concentration (P > 0.20) were found. The results suggest that BCS carrying Met/Met genotype exhibit greater dysfunction of the HPA axis and SNS system associated with severe CRF. This study is important because it strives to understand biological factors that predispose some BCS to higher levels of CRF.