Basal cell carcinoma and stress

Troubled early parent-child relationships and recent stressful life events are linked to poorer immune response to basal cell carcinoma (BCC), according to US researchers

This study was conducted in a university medical centre and analysed the records of 91 patients aged 23-92 years who had a BCC in the previous year.  

Among them, those who were emotionally maltreated as a child by either parent had poorer immune response to the BCC. Of these, those maltreated by their fathers had higher depressive symptoms. Expression of four BCC tumour mRNA markers linked to BCC progression and regression were assessed in biopsy specimens.

It is known that the incidence of BCCs is on the increase worldwide and that the tumours are immunogenic. The authors comment that psychological stress may play a part in the BCC tumour environment, which has implications for subsequent tumours. Depressive symptoms or emotional maltreatment alone were not associated with local BCC immune response.

This study is the first to suggest a troubled early parent-child relationship, in combination with a severe life event in the past year, can predict the local immune response to a BCC.
Fagundes CP, Glaser R, Johnson SL et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2012; 69(6): 618-26


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