Case Report: Dynamic Interdependencies Between Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Practice, Urinary Interleukin-6 Levels, and Fatigue in a Breast Cancer Survivor
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Frontiers Research Foundation
Breast cancerCancer survivorCAMIL-6FatigueTime series analysisQualitative methodIntegrative single-case study
Singer M... [et al.] (2021) Case Report: Dynamic Interdependencies Between Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Practice, Urinary Interleukin-6 Levels, and Fatigue in a Breast Cancer Survivor. Front. Psychiatry 12:592379. doi: [10.3389/fpsyt.2021.592379]
SponsorshipUniversity of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
Background: This study investigated the influence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) techniques (i.e., Jin Shin Jyutsu, music, physiotherapy, Tai Chi, and energy healing) on urinary interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels and fatigue in a 49-year-old breast cancer survivor suffering from cancer-related fatigue and depression. Data were sampled under conditions of "life as it is lived." Methods: For 28 days, a female breast cancer survivor collected her full urine output in 12-h intervals from about 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from about 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. These urine samples were used to determine urinary IL-6 levels through ELISA and creatinine concentrations via HPLC. In 12-h intervals (every morning and evening), the patient completed the DIARI, which included fatigue measurement and notes on incidents and activities such as CAM practice. In addition, the patient was interviewed weekly to identify meaningful everyday incidents. In this context, CAM practice was also discussed. Time series analysis consisted of ARIMA modeling and cross-correlational analyses (p < 0.05). Results: When each CAM technique was considered separately in time series analysis, CAM was consistently associated with increases in urinary IL-6 release and decreases in fatigue. Furthermore, when all CAM techniques experienced as positive were included in one time series, a biphasic urinary IL-6 response pattern was found in which CAM practice was first preceded by decreases in IL-6 by 12-0 h and then followed by increases in IL-6 after 108-120 h. Finally, cross-correlations between IL-6 and fatigue showed that increases in IL-6 were followed by decreases in fatigue intensity after 48-60 h and, conversely, that decreases in fatigue intensity were followed by decreases in IL-6 after 24-36 h and 48-60 h. Conclusion: IL-6 increases and fatigue decreases highlight potential health-promoting effects of CAM practice. Moreover, a cyclic IL-6 pattern in response to all CAM activities experienced as positive underscores that CAM was meaningful to the patient. Additionally, a negative feedback circuit between IL-6 and fatigue intensity was detected. Taken together, this study confirms the necessity of integrating subjective meaning and dynamic complexity into biopsychosocial research in order to understand human functioning under real-life conditions.