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Stress management for breast cancer patients may affect disease course
Date:3/21/2012

CORAL GABLES, FL (March 21, 2012)A team of researchers led by Michael H. Antoni, director of the Center for Psycho-Oncology Research at the University of Miami (UM) has shown that a stress management program tailored to women with breast cancer can alter tumor-promoting processes at the molecular level. The new study recently published in the journal Biological Psychiatry is one of the first to link psychological intervention with genetic expression in cancer patients.

According to the study, the group-based Cognitive-Behavioral Stress Management (CBSM) intervention designed by the researchers affects which genes in the cells of the immune system are turned on and off, in ways that may facilitate better recovery during treatment for breast cancer, explains Antoni, professor of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, and professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and program leader of Biobehavioral Oncology at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

"For the women in the CBSM groups, there was better psychological adaptation to the whole process of going through treatment for breast cancer and there were physiological changes that indicated that the women were recovering better," Antoni says. "The results suggest that the stress management intervention mitigates the influence of the stress of cancer treatment and promotes recovery over the first year."

Previous research has shown that during times of adversity, our nervous and endocrine systems send signals to the immune system, which defends us from disease. In response, our body activates specific genes inside immune cells called white blood cells or leukocytes, Antoni explains.

"For the women that participated in the intervention groups, the genes that signal the production of molecules associated with a healthy immune response, such as type I interferon were up-regulatedmeaning they were produci
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Contact: Alexandra Bassil
a.bassil@miami.edu
305-284-1092
University of Miami
Source:Eurekalert

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