HealthDay News — Mindfulness practice during chemotherapy can reduce the blunting of neuroendocrine profiles typically observed in cancer patients, according to a study published in Cancer.1

David S. Black, PhD, MPH, from University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues assigned 57 English- or Spanish-speaking colorectal cancer patients to either mindfulness, attention-control, or resting exposure at the start of chemotherapy. Four saliva samples were collected at the start of chemotherapy and at 20-minute intervals during the first 60 minutes of chemotherapy. Self-reported biobehavioral assessments after chemotherapy included distress, fatigue, and mindfulness.

An area-under-the-curve analysis showed a relative increase in cortisol reactivity in the mindfulness group, after adjustments for biological and clinical measures (P =.03). From baseline to 20 minutes, more than twice as many patients in the mindfulness group displayed a cortisol rise, compared to controls (69 vs 34%; P =.02). Mindfulness scores were inversely correlated with fatigue (P <.01) and distress scores (P <.01).

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“Implications include support for the use of mindfulness practice in integrative oncology,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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  1. Black DS, Peng C, Sleight AG, Nguyen N, Lenz HJ, Figueiredo JC. Mindfulness practice reduces cortisol blunting during chemotherapy: A randomized controlled study of colorectal cancer patients. Cancer. 2017. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30698