Recently we evaluated by actigraphy the rest-activity circadian rhythm (RAR) in breast cancer (BC) survivors at 5 years from primary diagnosis, as well as in a control group with similar age and body mass index (BMI). RAR, analyzed by Cosinor method, resulted significantly different in BC survivors compared to healthy subjects: BC survivors showed lower values of MESOR and Amplitude (A), while acrophase (φ) was similar in the two groups.
Now, using non-parametric methods we have detected Interdaily Stability (IS), Intradaily Variability (IV), nocturnal activity (L5), and daily activity (M10) on the same sample of previous study: 15 BC survivors at 5 years from the primary diagnosis (mean age = 56.7 ± 6.6 yrs; mean BMI = 24.5 ± 3.8 Kg/m2) and 13 healthy controls (mean age = 54.4 ± 7.2 yrs; mean BMI = 25.2 ± 2.8 Kg/m2).
The non-parametric indices showed that in BC-group IV was significantly higher than in Ctrl-group (0.86 vs. 0.65 a.u. in BC and Ctrl, respectively; p <.01), while L5 (11.27 vs. 34.41 a.c. in BC and Ctrl, respectively; p <.0001) and M10 (326.82 vs. 428.07 a.c. in BC and Ctrl, respectively; p <.01) were significantly lower compared to Ctrl-group.
The data suggest that BC patients need constant clinical assessment of RAR characteristics along the years following the primary diagnosis. The analysis of RAR in all its components, parametric and non-parametric, is important to detect alterations in the sleep-wake cycle and can be useful for developing new strategies for health protection, such as structured and tailored physical activity programs, to improve circadian activity level in order to raise the quality of life in BC survivors.