Microbiota Modulation of Chemotherapy-related Pain and Fatigue in Colorectal Cancer Patients

This study will evaluate the relationship between your lifestyle (diet, physical activity), microbiome (microorganisms) composition, and the activity of pain/fatigue-related-gene, and how they together contribute to the possible symptoms of pain and fatigue that patients may be experiencing accompanying colorectal cancer treatment. After obtaining the consent, the participants will be provided with a Fitbit smartwatch and is required to meet the research for 3 visits ( prior to initial chemotherapy, within 3 days after the initial chemotherapy, and 2-3 weeks after your initial chemotherapy). At each visit, participants will fill out survey questionnaires, and a blood sample and a stool sample will also be collected. There is minimum risk associated with the study.

The goal of this proposed study is to use bio-behaviors measurement in understanding the development and severity of symptoms in CRC patients with chemotherapy. As an initial step in this program of research, the study will allow us to investigate the associations among variation in the gut microbiome and plasma microbiome translocation in response to chemotherapy initiation for CRC and high impact pain and fatigue. Study results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed articles and conference presentation by the second year of the study. A large-scaled study will be the next step to confirm the results of the proposed pilot study and to identify a gut microbiome pattern that is protective against persistent chemotherapy-related pain and fatigue. Upon validation, the knowledge generated from the mechanism studies will provide a grounding foundation to develop targeted low-cost nursing intervention to restore the gut microbiome during chemotherapy to reduce distressing symptoms.


  • 18 years of age or older
  • Colorectal cancer diagnosis

Location: Hartford Hospital

Contact: Hayley.Dunnack@hhchealth.org, 860-972-5518

Cancer Clinical Research Office