Effects of chronic jet lag on tumor progression in mice

Cancer Res. 2004 Nov 1;64(21):7879-85. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-04-0674.


Frequent transmeridian flights or predominant work at night can increase cancer risk. Altered circadian rhythms also predict for poor survival in cancer patients, whereas physical destruction of the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), the hypothalamic circadian pacemaker, accelerates tumor growth in mice. Here we tested the effect of functional disruption of circadian system on tumor progression in a novel experimental model of chronic jet lag. B6D2F(1) mice were synchronized with 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness or underwent repeat 8-hour advances of the light/dark cycle every 2 days before inoculation of Glasgow osteosarcoma. The 24-hour changes were assessed for plasma corticosterone, clock protein mPER1 expression in the SCN, and mRNA expression of clock genes mPer2 and mRev-erbalpha in liver and tumor. Time series were analyzed by spectral analysis and/or Cosinor. Differences were compared with analysis of variance (ANOVA). The 24-hour rest/activity cycle was ablated, and the rhythms of body temperature, serum corticosterone, and mPER1 protein expression in the SCN were markedly altered in jet-lagged mice as compared with controls (ANOVA, P < 0.001 for corticosterone and P = 0.01 for mPER1). Tumor grew faster in the jet-lagged animals as compared with controls (ANOVA, P < 0.001), whereas exposure to constant light or darkness had no effect (ANOVA, P = 0.66 and P = 0.8, respectively). The expression of mPer2 and mRev-erbalpha mRNAs in controls showed significant circadian rhythms in the liver (P = 0.006 and P = 0.003, respectively, Cosinor) and in the tumor (P = 0.04 and P < 0.001). Both rhythms were suppressed in the liver (P = 0.2 and P = 0.1, respectively, Cosinor) and in the tumor (P = 0.5) of jet-lagged mice. Altered environmental conditions can disrupt circadian clock molecular coordination in peripheral organs including tumors and play a significant role in malignant progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Disease Progression
  • Gene Expression
  • Jet Lag Syndrome / complications*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / physiology