Interleukin-6 and Body Mass Index, Tobacco Use, and Sleep in Gynecologic Cancers

Elizabeth L. Kacel*, Janae L. Kirsch, Timothy S. Sannes, Seema Patidar, Rachel Postupack, Sally Jensen, Shan Wong, Stephanie Garey, Stacy Dodd, Chantel M. Ulfig, Christina S. McCrae, Michael E. Robinson, Jacqueline Castagno, Gregory S. Schultz, Deidre B. Pereira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Elevated body mass index (BMI), tobacco use, and sleep disturbance are common health concerns among women with gynecologic cancers. The extent to which these factors are associated with systemic inflammation in gynecologic cancers is unknown. This is a significant literature gap given that (a) chronic, systemic inflammation may mediate relationships between behavioral health factors and cancer outcomes; and (b) elevated BMI, tobacco use, and sleep disturbances can be modified via behavioral interventions. This study examined Interleukin-6 (IL-6) relations with BMI, tobacco use history, and sleep disturbances in patients undergoing surgery for suspected gynecologic cancer. Method: Participants were 100 women (M age = 58.42 years, SD = 10.62 years) undergoing surgery for suspected gynecologic cancer. Smoking history was determined by participant self-report. Sleep quality/disturbance was assessed via the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. BMI was abstracted from electronic health records. Presurgical serum IL-6 concentrations were determined using Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay. Results: Controlling for the cancer type and stage, regression analyses revealed higher BMI, β = 0.258, p = .007, and former/current smoking status,β=0.181, p = .046, were associated with higher IL-6. IL-6 did not differ between former and current smokers, β = 0.008, p = .927. Global sleep quality, sleeplatency, and sleep efficiency were not associated with IL-6. Conclusions: Higher BMI and any history of tobacco use predicted higher IL-6 among women undergoing surgery for suspected gynecologic cancers. Cognitive- behavioral interventions targeting primary and secondary obesity and tobacco use prevention may reduce systemic inflammation and optimize cancer outcomes in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Psychology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Gynecologic oncology
  • Obesity
  • Psychoneuroimmunology
  • Sleep
  • Tobacco use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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