Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 3195–3200 | Cite as

Comparing a genetic and a psychological factor as correlates of anxiety, depression, and chronic stress in men with prostate cancer

  • Christopher F. Sharpley
  • David R. H. Christie
  • Vicki Bitsika
  • Nicholas M. Andronicos
  • Linda L. Agnew
  • Timothy M. Richards
  • Mary E. McMillan
Original Article



Some prostate cancer (PCa) patients become clinically anxious or depressed after diagnosis and treatment. Some also show the physiological signs of chronic stress. However, there are currently no data describing how these particular patients might be identified at intake. This study tested the individual and combined predictive power of a psychological factor and a genetic factor as potential predictors of anxiety, depression, and chronic stress in a sample of PCa patients.


Ninety-five PCa patients completed psychological inventories for anxiety, depression, and psychological resilience (PR) and also gave a saliva sample for cortisol and a mouthwash sample for genetic testing for the presence of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism.


High PR patients had significantly lower anxiety and depression than low PR patients, but showed no significant differences in their salivary cortisol. Carriers of the Met allele of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism had significantly higher salivary cortisol concentrations than patients who did not carry this allele.


Each of these two factors may provide valuable information regarding the vulnerability of PCa patients to anxiety, depression, or chronic stress. Suggestions are made for their inclusion in clinical settings.


Cancer Oncology Prostate Genes Resilience 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher F. Sharpley
    • 1
  • David R. H. Christie
    • 2
  • Vicki Bitsika
    • 3
  • Nicholas M. Andronicos
    • 1
  • Linda L. Agnew
    • 1
  • Timothy M. Richards
    • 1
  • Mary E. McMillan
    • 1
  1. 1.Brain-Behaviour Research GroupUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  2. 2.Genesiscare, & Brain-Behaviour Research GroupUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Autism Spectrum DisordersBond UniversityGold CoastAustralia

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