Stressful Events in Early Life linked to Risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma

In a first of its kind study, researchers from the Ohio’s State University Medical Center in Columbus have found that emotional maltreatment of the children at the hands of their parents in their early childhood coupled with a stressful event in the past year may be linked to the local immune response to basal cell carcinoma. The study, which has been published in the latest issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, was led by Christopher P. Fagundes along with his colleagues.

It has been known that basal cell carcinoma is one of the few cancers wherein the tumor appearance and progression is affected by the local immune response of the body. It has also been known that stressful events in early life have an impact on the immune functions. Negative emotions can cause immune dysfunction strong enough to impair vaccine response, increase healing time of a wound, and promote inflammation. The researchers of this study tried to find out if they can also have an impact on the risk of basal cell carcinoma.

For their study, the researchers recruited ninety one patients who had suffered from basal cell carcinoma. The age of the participants was between 23 and 92 years. They found that those participants who had been maltreated by their parents in their early life showed a poorer immune response to basal cell carcinoma tumor in case they experienced a severe life event within the past year. However, in the absence of a severe life event in the past year, the emotional maltreatment in early life did not have any bearing upon the immune response to the tumor. The researchers also found that the presence of depressive symptoms did not have any effect on the immune response. It was seen that the immune reaction shown by basal cell carcinoma tumor and its surrounding stroma has an anti-tumor-specific immune response which can be affected by stress.

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Date: 
Thursday, June 14, 2012