|1. To identify the association between inflammatory markers (e.g., IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-alpha) and the development of treatment-related symptom burden (e.g., pain, neuropathy, fatigue, cognitive impairment, and other symptoms) in patients with colorectal cancer. Our central hypothesis is that increases in the levels of serum inflammatory markers in response to oxaliplatin-based cancer treatment will be associated with the development of symptoms in patients with colorectal cancer, and that TNF-a in particular will be highly correlated with painful neuropathy.
2. To track primary afferent function by quantitative sensory testing over time in patients with colorectal cancer who are receiving chemotherapy. We hypothesize that patients being treated with oxaliplatin who develop neuropathic pain will exhibit reduction in primary afferent fiber function reduction as reflected in the sensory testing measures.
3. To characterize neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with colorectal cancer using a neuropsychological test battery at baseline and at selected follow-up points. We hypothesize that approximately one third of patients with colorectal cancer will develop depression and impairments of memory, executive function, and fine-motor speed during treatment.
4. To evaluate the major symptom burden reported by patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) during first five years from diagnosis.
5. To analyze genetic variation from inflammation and other symptom-related genes with regard to risk of developing high symptom burden from cancer and therapy in patients with CRC.