Social well-being is associated with less pro-inflammatory and pro-metastatic leukocyte gene expression in women after surgery for breast cancer

Devika R. Jutagir, Bonnie B Blomberg, Charles S Carver, Suzanne C Lechner, Kiara R Timpano, Laura C. Bouchard, Lisa M. Gudenkauf, Jamie M. Jacobs, Alain Diaz, Susan K. Lutgendorf, Steve W. Cole, Aaron Heller, Michael H Antoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: Satisfaction with social resources, or “social well-being,” relates to better adaptation and longer survival after breast cancer diagnosis. Biobehavioral mechanisms linking social well-being (SWB) to mental and physical health may involve inflammatory signaling. We tested whether reports of greater SWB were associated with lower levels of pro-inflammatory and pro-metastatic leukocyte gene expression after surgery for non-metastatic breast cancer. Methods: Women (N = 50) diagnosed with non-metastatic (0–III) breast cancer were enrolled 2–8 weeks after surgery. SWB was assessed with the social/family well-being subscale of the FACT-B. Leukocyte gene expression for specific pro-inflammatory (cytokines, chemokines, and COX-2) and pro-metastatic genes (e.g., MMP9) was derived from microarray analysis. Results: Multiple regression analyses controlling for age, stage of disease, days since surgery, education, and body mass index (BMI) found higher levels of SWB related to less leukocyte pro-inflammatory and pro-metastatic gene expression (p < 0.05). Emotional well-being, physical well-being, and functional well-being did not relate to leukocyte gene expression (p > 0.05). Greater SWB remained significantly associated with less leukocyte pro-inflammatory and pro-metastatic gene expression after controlling for depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Results have implications for understanding mechanisms linking social resources to health-relevant biological processes in breast cancer patients undergoing primary treatment. Clinical Trial Registration Number: NCT01422551.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017



  • Breast cancer
  • Inflammation
  • Leukocyte gene expression
  • Social support
  • Social well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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