Neurobiological and psychological evidence of chronic stress in prostate cancer patients

C. F. Sharpley*, D. R.H. Christie, V. Bitsika, L. L. Agnew, N. M. Andronicos, M. E. McMillan, T. M. Richards

*Corresponding author for this work

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3 Citations (Scopus)


To measure the prevalence and severity of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), hypo- and hypercortisolaemia, and their association in a sample of prostate cancer (PCa) patients, 97 Australian PCa patients completed a background questionnaire and the GAD-7, and provided a sample of saliva collected 30–45 min after waking. The mean GAD7 score was 9.67 (SD = 3.09), and prevalence rates for current anxiety were higher than those reported for non-PCa males of a similar age. Mean salivary cortisol concentrations (30.78 nmol/L, SD = 13.97 nmol/L) were also higher than for age-comparative non-PCa men. There was a significant inverse correlation between GAD and cortisol (r = −. 209, p <.05), and four subgroups of GAD-cortisol patients were able to be identified, with evidence of both hyper- and hypocortisolaemia. These findings provide initial neurobiological evidence of the chronic and profound nature of stress experienced by PCa patients, and also suggest a possible measure that might be used to identify most at-risk PCa patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12671
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


Cite this

Sharpley, C. F., Christie, D. R. H., Bitsika, V., Agnew, L. L., Andronicos, N. M., McMillan, M. E., & Richards, T. M. (2017). Neurobiological and psychological evidence of chronic stress in prostate cancer patients. European Journal of Cancer Care, 26(6), [e12671].