Introduction: Women diagnosed with breast cancer (BC) are at increased risk of sleep deficiency. Approximately 30-60% of these women report poor sleep during and following surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and anti-estrogen therapy. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between genetic variation in circadian rhythm genes and self-reported sleep quality in women with BC. Methods: This cross-sectional study recruited women with a first diagnosis of breast cancer at five sites in Nebraska and South Dakota. Sixty women were included in the study. Twenty-six circadian genes were selected for exome sequencing using the Nextera Rapid Capture Expanded Exome kit. 414 variants had a minor allele frequency of ≥5% and were included in the exploratory analysis. The association between Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score and genetic variants was determined by two-sample t-test or ANOVA. Results: Twenty-five variants were associated with the PSQI score at p < 0.10, of which 19 were significant at p<0.05, although the associations did not reach statistical significance after adjustment for multiple comparisons. Variants associated with PSQI were from genes CSNK1D & E, SKP1, BHLHE40 & 41, NPAS2, ARNTL, MYRIP, KLHL30, TIMELESS, FBXL3, CUL1, PER1&2, RORB. Two genetic variants were synonymous or missense variants in the BHLHE40 and TIMELESS genes, respectively. Conclusions: These exploratory results demonstrate an association of genetic variants in circadian rhythm pathways with self-reported sleep in women with BC. Testing this association is warranted in a larger replication population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number184
JournalJournal of Circadian Rhythms
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Circadian genes
  • Genetic variation
  • Sleep deficiency
  • Sleep quality
  • Sleep-wake disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems


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