Chronic fatigue in childhood cancer survivors is associated with lifestyle and psychosocial factors; a DCCSS LATER study

Dutch LATER Study group

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BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to determine factors associated with chronic fatigue (CF) in childhood cancer survivors (CCS).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Participants were included from the Dutch Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (DCCSS) LATER cohort, a nationwide cohort of CCS (≥5 years after diagnosis) and siblings as controls. Fatigue severity was assessed with the 'fatigue severity subscale' of the Checklist Individual Strength ('CIS-fatigue'). CF was defined as scoring ≥35 on the 'CIS-fatigue' and having fatigue symptoms for ≥6 months. Twenty-four parameters were assessed, categorized into assumed fatigue triggering, maintaining and moderating factors. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were carried out to investigate the association of these factors with CF.

RESULTS: A total of 1927 CCS participated in the study (40.7% of invited cohort), of whom 23.6% reported CF (compared with 15.6% in sibling controls, P < 0.001). The following factors were associated with CF: obesity [versus healthy weight, odds ratio (OR) 1.93; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.30-2.87], moderate physical inactivity (versus physical active, OR 2.36; 95% CI 1.67-3.34), poor sleep (yes versus no, OR 2.03; 95% CI 1.54-2.68), (sub)clinical anxiety (yes versus no, OR 1.55; 95% CI 1.10-2.19), (sub)clinical depression (yes versus no, OR 2.07; 95% CI 1.20-3.59), pain (continuous, OR 1.49; 95% CI 1.33-1.66), self-esteem (continuous, OR 0.95; 95% CI 0.92-0.98), helplessness (continuous, OR 1.13; 95% CI 1.08-1.19), social functioning (continuous, OR 0.98; 95% CI 0.97-0.99) and female sex (versus male sex, OR 1.79; 95% CI 1.36-2.37).

CONCLUSION: CF is a prevalent symptom in CCS that is associated with several assumed maintaining factors, with lifestyle and psychosocial factors being the most prominent. These are modifiable factors and may therefore be beneficial to prevent or reduce CF in CCS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102044
JournalESMO Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Humans
  • Male
  • Female
  • Child
  • Cancer Survivors
  • Quality of Life
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/psychology
  • Depression/epidemiology
  • Neoplasms/complications
  • Sleep Wake Disorders
  • Life Style


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