Jacobs Journal of Cancer Science and Research

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) VAL66MET Polymorphism and Symptoms in Breast Cancer Survivors

*Sylvia Heinze
Department Of Medicine, Indiana Wesleyan University, United States

*Corresponding Author:
Sylvia Heinze
Department Of Medicine, Indiana Wesleyan University, United States

Published on: 2014-01-25


The relationship between occurrence and severity of cancer-related symptoms in breast cancer survivors following treatment and the presence or absence of the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism was examined in this study. Individuals with the BDNF polymorphism were predicted to be more prone to persistent cancer-related symptoms following treatment. Breast cancer survivors post-treament (6 months to 6 years; majority: 3 years or more) completed an on-line version of the Therapy-Related Symptom Checklist (TRSC). A subpopulation of participants was genotyped to determine the presence or absence of the BDNF polymorphism. The results indicated BDNF genotype did not have a significant effect on total TRSC scores (OR = 0.27; 95% CI, [0.036, 1.98]; p = 0.196); the sample size was small (weak statistical power). But, the odds of having higher TRSC scores (OR=29.29; 95% CI [2.81, 305.10], p=.005) were found in subjects who had experienced chemotherapy treatment. Also, higher percent occurrence of 7 symptoms were reported by breast cancer survivors with absent BDNF SNP. It can be concluded that chemotherapy effects (symptom occurrence and severity) are long lasting; and (b) a larger study on BDNF is needed.


BDNF: Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor; Breast Cancer Survivors; Symptoms; Therapy Related Symptom Checklist, (TRSC); VAL66MET Polymorphism


Advances in detection and treatment of breast cancer have increased the survival rate for women. Many of these survivors continue to suffer from physiological and psychological symptoms after completion of their treatment. Occurrence and severity of these symptoms may have serious consequences on survivors’ quality of life (QOL) as well as their morbidity and mortality. Finding a common biological mechanism contributing to symptoms could provide a means of identifying at-risk patients for breast cancer and a basis for developing interventions to improve QOL.