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Clin Cancer Res. 2000 Aug;6(8):3038-45.

Marked 24-h rest/activity rhythms are associated with better quality of life, better response, and longer survival in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer and good performance status.

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Laboratoire Rythmes Biologiques et Chronothérapeutique, Université Paris XI and I.C.I.G., Hopital Paul Brousse, Villejuif, France.


The rest/activity circadian cycle has been used as a reference for chemotherapy administration at specific times to improve tolerability and efficacy. Because cancer processes may be associated with alterations of circadian rhythms, the rest/activity cycle was monitored noninvasively to assess its relationship with tumor response, survival, and quality of life in 200 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Patients wore an actigraph, a wristwatch that records the number of accelerations per minute, for 3 days before receiving chronomodulated chemotherapy. The circadian rhythms in activity were estimated by two robust parameters: the autocorrelation coefficient at 24 h (r24), and the dichotomy index (I<O) for comparing amounts of activity when in bed and out of bed. Accurate data for inclusion, quality of life, response, and survival were available for 192 patients. Survival at 2 years was 5-fold higher (P = 10(-4)) in patients with marked activity rhythm (I<O in upper quartile) than in those with rhythm alteration (I<O in lower quartile). These results were supported by the multivariate Cox analysis. Multivariate regression analysis showed that circadian rhythms in activity (I<O; P = 3 x 10(-4)) and in WBCs (P = 0.03) as well as performance status (P = 0.02) were jointly prognostic of response. Patients with marked rest/activity rhythms also had better quality of life and reported significantly less fatigue. The individual rest/activity cycle provides a novel independent prognostic factor for cancer patients' survival and tumor response as well as a quantitative indicator for quality of life.

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