A Biobehaviorial Intervention to Reduce Adverse Outcomes in Young Adult Testicular Cancer Survivors
a study on Testicular Cancer
This study is a randomized controlled biobehavioral efficacy trial designed to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of a novel intervention, Goal-focused Emotion-Regulation Therapy (GET) aimed at improving distress symptoms, emotion regulation, goal navigation skills, and stress-sensitive biomarkers in young adult testicular cancer patients.
Participants will be randomized to receive six sessions of GET or Individual Supportive Listening (ISL) delivered over eight weeks. In addition to indicators of intervention feasibility, the investigators will measure primary (depressive and anxiety symptoms) and secondary (emotion regulation and goal navigation skills, career confusion) psychological outcomes prior to (T0), immediately after (T1), twelve weeks after intervention (T2) and 24 weeks after the intervention (T3). Additionally, identified biomarkers will be measured at baseline and at T1, T2, and T3.
Testicular cancer diagnosis and treatment, especially given its threat to sexuality and reproductive health, can be distressing in the formative period of young adulthood. Cohort studies reveal the prevalence of depressive symptoms in testicular cancer exceeds the general population. In fact, the majority of young adult cancer survivors will experience impairing, distressing, and modifiable physical, behavioral, and psychosocial adverse outcomes that persist long after the completion of primary medical treatment. These include psychological distress, impairment in the navigation and pursuit of life goals, persistent side effects, elevated risk of secondary malignancies and chronic illness, and biobehavioral burden (e.g., enhanced inflammation, dysregulated stress hormones) which influence morbidity and disease-related vulnerabilities. However, few targeted, effective interventions exist to assist young survivors in re-negotiating life goals and regulating cancer-related emotions and none focus on reducing the burden of morbidity via biobehavioral mechanisms.
Young or "emerging" adulthood is a period marked by goal attainment. Chronic illness experienced as "off time" in the lifespan interrupts goal pursuits and threatens valued life directions. As young adults return to goal pursuits, re-entry to post-cancer life can be a critical point in the survivorship trajectory. Behavioral intervention at this time is well positioned to confer longer-term impact. Emergent from our group's preliminary research, we developed and pilot-tested Goal-focused Emotion-Regulation Therapy (GET) as a novel behavioral intervention to enhance self-regulation through improved goal navigation skills, improved sense of purpose, and better ability to regulate emotional responses in young adults with testicular cancer. GET is a promising candidate intervention to address the mechanisms likely complicating the resolution of cancer-related burden.
Responsive the need for feasible, effective, and scalable interventions, we will randomly allocate 250 young adult (ages 18 -39) testicular cancer patients to 6 sessions of GET or ISL, and evaluate primary and secondary outcomes at baseline, post-treatment, 3-month follow-up, and 6-months follow-up. We predict that GET will be associated with superior distress outcomes and comparatively greater reductions in adverse biobehavioral indicators (dysregulated diurnal stress hormones, elevated systemic inflammation), and these advantages will be maintained at three- and six-months following intervention. The intervention will be delivered via an interactive video platform to enhance access. An additional exploratory aim focuses on potential epigenetic vulnerabilities, to understand how environmental influences (via DNA methylation) on genes implicated in stress reactivity and mood regulation are related to cancer adjustment and intervention response.
This study capitalizes on the study team's unique expertise in biobehavioral oncology and salivary bioscience to test a novel behavioral intervention for young adult survivors. It has potential to understand how to alter proximal behavioral, biological, and psychological factors that underscore long term adverse effects.
You can join if…
Open to males ages 18-39
- Age 18 to 39 years at time of consent
- A confirmed diagnosis of testis cancer (any stage)
- Completion of chemotherapy for testis cancer within 4 years prior to consent
- A score of >4 on the Distress Thermometer
- English fluency, as per medical record documenting preferred language or in the judgment of the investigator
- Spanish fluency, as per medical record documenting preferred language or in the judgment of the investigator
- Able to perform informed consent
You CAN'T join if...
- Lifetime history of psychiatric of cognitive disturbance as per self-report or medical record
- In the judgment of the consenting professional, is unable to provide informed consent and complete study sessions and assessment
- As per self-report, has medical conditions that affect the immune system and would confound immune evaluation (e.g., autoimmune disorder, inflammatory disease; uncontrolled thyroid disease; active infection; myocardial infarction or stroke in the last 6 months; Type I diabetes; acute hepatitis; recent vaccination for viral disease)
- Regular smoker (daily use)
- University of California, Irvine
Irvine California 92697-3954 United States
Lead Scientist at UC Irvine
- not yet accepting patients
- Start Date
- Completion Date
- University of California, Irvine
- Study Type
- Expecting 250 study participants
- Last Updated