Psychosocial symptoms often cluster together, are refractory to treatment, and impair health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) in cancer patients. The contribution of circadian rhythm alterations to systemic symptoms has been overlooked in cancer, despite a causal link shown under jet lag and shift work conditions. We investigated whether the circadian rest-activity rhythm provides a reliable and objective estimate of the most frequent patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs).Two datasets were used, each involving concomitant 3-day time series of wrist actigraphy and HR-QoL questionnaires: EORTC QLQ-C30 was completed once by 237 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer; MD Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) was completed daily by 31 patients with advanced cancer on continuous actigraphy monitoring, providing 1015 paired data points. Circadian function was assessed using the clinically validated dichotomy index I < O. Nonparametric tests compared PROMs and I < O. Effect sizes were computed. Sensitivity subgroup and temporal dynamics analyses were also performed.I < O values were significantly lower with increasing symptom severity and worsening HR-QoL domains. Fatigue and anorexia were worse in patients with circadian disruption. The differences were both statistically and clinically significant (P < 0.001; d = 0.33). Physical and social functioning, and global quality/enjoyment of life were significantly better in patients with robust circadian rhythm (P < 0.001; d = 0.26). Sensitivity analyses validated these findings.Objectively determined circadian disruption was consistently and robustly associated with clinically meaningfully severe fatigue, anorexia, and interference with physical and social functioning. This supports an important role of the circadian system in the determination of cancer patients' HR-QoL and symptoms that deserves therapeutic exploitation.
View details for PubMedID 30088335