Background: In this study, we examined the differential associations of various proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines with depression severity from the development of breast cancer to subsequent chemotherapy treatment. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on a sample of 116 women: 29 controls without cancer, 55 patients with breast cancer who were not receiving chemotherapy, and 32 patients with breast cancer who were receiving chemotherapy. Blood samples were assayed to evaluate serum levels of the following cytokines: interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-12 (p70), IL-1β, IL-2, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, IL-6, and IL-17A. Depression severity was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire. Results: After adjustment for sociodemographics, consistent patterns of the association between cytokine and depression were noted in the different groups. No significant associations were observed in the controls. Inverse associations were observed between cytokines levels and depression severity in patients with breast cancer who were not receiving chemotherapy, whereas positive associations were noted in patients with breast cancer who were receiving chemotherapy. Specific differential relationships between IL-5 levels and depression severity were found between patients with breast cancer who were receiving and not receiving chemotherapy. Conclusions: Our study revealed differential relationships between cytokine levels and depression severity with the development of cancer. Immunostimulation and immunosuppression in breast cancer and cancer treatment may account for the differential responses with the development of breast cancer.
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