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Open Access Fatigue and Sleep during Cancer and Chemotherapy: Translational Rodent Models

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The frequent occurrence of fatigue and disturbed sleep in cancer survivors and the negative effect of these symptoms on quality of life and clinical outcome underscore the need to identify mechanisms that cause cancer-related fatigue, with a view toward developing more effective treatments for this problem. Human studies of fatigue and disturbed sleep are limited by high inter-individual genetic and environmental variability, difficulties with behavioral or reporting compliance, and the subjective nature of the problems. Although animal models also must overcome the barrier of assessing fatigue and sleep disturbance in the absence of obvious objective clinical markers, animal studies are easier to control and standardize than are studies of people. Moreover, animal models are crucial to the identification and understanding of underlying disease mechanisms. This review describes the need for, the feasibility of, and several possible approaches to measuring fatigue in animal models of cancer and to relating such measures to disturbed sleep, immune function, and other potential mechanisms. Developing and using animal models to better understand fatigue and disturbed sleep related to cancer and its treatment has an enormous potential to expand the knowledge base and foster hypotheses necessary for the future development and testing of interventions.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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