Quality of life and genetics in men with prostate cancer

Alexander, Kimberly Elizabeth (2011) Quality of life and genetics in men with prostate cancer. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


As family history has been established as a risk factor for prostate cancer, attempts have been made to isolate predisposing genetic variants that are related to hereditary prostate cancer. With many genetic variants still to be identified and investigated, it is not yet possible to fully understand the impact of genetic variants on prostate cancer development. The high survival rates among men with prostate cancer have meant that other issues, such as quality of life (QoL), have also become important. Through their effect on a person’s health, a range of inherited genetic variants may potentially influence QoL in men with prostate cancer, even prior to treatment. Until now, limited research has been conducted on the relationship between genetics and QoL. Thus, this study contributes to an emerging field by aiming to identify certain genetic variants related to the QoL found in men with prostate cancer. It is hoped that this study may lead to future research that will identify men who have an increased risk of a poor QoL following prostate cancer treatment, which will aid in developing treatments that are individually tailored to support them. Previous studies have established that genetic variants of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) may play a role in prostate cancer development. VEGF and IGF-1 have also been reported to be associated with QoL in people with ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer, respectively. This study completed a series of secondary analyses using two major data-sets (from 850 men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, and approximately 550 men from the general Queensland population), in which genetic variants of VEGF and IGF-1 were investigated for associations with prostate cancer susceptibility and QoL. The first aim of this research was to investigate genetic variants in the VEGF and IGF-I gene for an association with the risk of prostate cancer. It was found that one IGF-1 genetic variant (rs35765) had a statistically significant association with prostate cancer (p = 0.04), and one VEGF genetic variant (rs2146323) had a statistically significant association with advanced prostate cancer (p = 0.02). The estimates suggest that carriers of the CA and AA genotype for rs35765 may have a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.72, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.55, 0.95, OR = 0.60, 95% CI = 0.26, 1.39, respectively). Meanwhile, carriers of the CA and AA genotype for rs2146323 may be at increased risk of advanced prostate cancer, which was determined by a Gleason score of above 7 (OR = 1.72, 95% CI = 1.12, 2.63, OR = 1.90, 95% CI = 1.08, 3.34, respectively). Utilising the widely used short-form health survey, the SF-36v2, the second aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between prostate cancer and QoL prior to treatment. Assessing QoL at this time-point was important as little research has been conducted to evaluate if prostate cancer affects QoL regardless of treatment. The analyses found that mean SF-36v2 scale scores related to physical health were higher by at least 0.3 Standard Deviations (SD) among men with prostate cancer than the general population comparison group. This difference was considered clinically significant (defined by group differences in mean SF-36v2 scores by at least 0.3 SD). These differences were also statistically significant (p<0.05). Mean QoL scale scores related to mental health were similar between men with prostate cancer and those from the general population comparison group. The third aim of this study was to investigate genetic variants in the VEGF and IGF-1 gene for an association with QoL in prostate cancer patients prior to their treatment. It was essential to evaluate these relationships prior to treatment, before the involvement of these genes was potentially interrupted by treatment. The analyses found that some genetic variants had a small clinically significant association (0.3 SD) to some QoL domains experienced by these men. However, most relationships were not statistically significant (p>0.05). Most of the associations found identified that a small sub-group of men with prostate cancer (approximately 2%) reported, on average, a slightly better QoL than the majority of the prostate cancer patients. The fourth aim of this research was to investigate whether associations between genetic variants in VEGF and IGF-1 and QoL were specific to men with prostate cancer, or were also applicable to the general male population. It was found that twenty out of one-hundred relationships between the genetic variants of VEGF and IGF-1 and QoL health-measures and scales examined differed between these groups. In the majority of the relationships involving VEGF SNPs that differed, a clinically significant difference (0.3 or more SD) between mean scores among the genotype groups in prostate cancer patients was found, while mean scores among men from the general-population comparison group were similar. For example, prostate cancer participants who carried at least one T allele (CT or TT genotype) for rs3024994 had a clinically significant higher (0.3 SD) mean QoL score in terms of the role-physical scale, than participants who carried the CC genotype. This was not seen among men from the general population sample, as the mean score was similar between genotype groups. The opposite was seen in regards to the IGF-1 SNPs examined. Overall, these relationships were not considered to directly impact on the clinical options for men with prostate cancer. As this study utilised secondary data from two separate studies, there are a number of important limitations that should be acknowledged including issues of multiple comparisons, power, and missing or unavailable data. It is recommended that this study be replicated as a better-designed study that takes greater consideration of the many factors involved in prostate cancer and QoL. Investigation into other genetic variants of VEGF or IGF-1 is also warranted, as is consideration of other genes and their relationship with QoL. Through identifying certain genetic variants that have a modest association to prostate cancer, this project adds to the knowledge surrounding VEGF and IGF-1 and their role in prostate cancer susceptibility. Importantly, this project has also introduced the potential role genetics plays in QoL, through investigating the relationships between genetic variants of VEGF and IGF-1 and QoL.

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ID Code: 46175
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Battistutta, Diana & Janda, Monika
Keywords: prostate cancer, quality of life, SF-36, genetics, genetic variants, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPS), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), public health, epidemiology, Australian
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 26 Sep 2011 06:34
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2011 06:34

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