“Studying how daily eating and physical behaviour patterns are associated with sleep quality, fatigue and inflammation over time in colorectal cancer survivors will help to develop intervention studies and eventually to empower fatigued colorectal cancer survivors.” – Prof Matty Weijenberg
Identifying circadian eating and physical behaviour patterns associated with sleep quality, fatigue and inflammation after colorectal cancer treatment: a pilot study with unique data
Sleep deficiency and fatigue affect up to two-thirds of colorectal cancer survivors and can persist for years. Irregular eating patterns and imbalanced patterns of physical behaviour (including activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep) can have a negative influence on biological clocks (Circadian rhythms). Research in this area is scarce.
As inflammation is one of the most established mechanisms underlying cancer-related fatigue and also related to biological clock disruptions, relations between irregular, 24-hour eating and activity patterns and inflammation may lend biological support for their relation to fatigue.
Aims and objectives
This pilot study aims to investigate relations of 24hr eating and physical behaviour patterns with sleep quality, fatigue and inflammation in colorectal cancer survivors until 2 years after treatment. Patterns previously reported in the literature and novel patterns using clock times for eating and physical behaviour will be studied.
We expect that distinct eating and physical behaviour patterns are related to lower sleep quality, persistent fatigue and increased inflammation after colorectal cancer treatment.
The objectives of this pilot study are to explore how previously reported and novel 24hr eating and physical behaviour patterns are related with sleep quality and fatigue, and inflammation.
How will it be done
The pilot study is part of the ongoing EnCoRe study among colorectal cancer survivors. Patients are followed up from diagnosis until 2 years after the end of treatment. Study measurements are performed at diagnosis and at 6 weeks, and 6, 12 and 24 months after completion of treatment.
Sleep quality, fatigue, inflammatory markers, eating patterns, circadian physical behaviour patterns and novel patterns will all be monitored for 7 days at these times.
The inter-relations over time between 24hr eating and activity patterns will be studied as well as their relation to sleep quality, fatigue and inflammatory makers over time, while accounting for other factors of influence.
This pilot study will help quantify and understand how daily eating and physical behaviour patterns are associated with sleep quality, fatigue and inflammation over time. This will help to develop intervention studies and eventually to empower fatigued colorectal cancer survivors.