One in Five With Cerebral Glioma Develops Depression

Major depression disorder predicted by functional impairment and previous history of depression

THURSDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Approximately 20 percent of patients with cerebral glioma have major depressive disorder (MDD) in the six months after starting radiotherapy, with a previous history of functional impairment or depression predicting MDD, according to a study published online Oct. 11 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Alasdair G. Rooney, M.D., from the Western General Hospital in the United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated the frequency, independent clinical associations, and longitudinal course of depression in 155 patients with a new diagnosis of cerebral glioma. Shortly after the initiation of radiotherapy (T1), participants received the Structural Clinical Interview (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition) to diagnose MDD, and follow-up interviews were performed three (T2) and six months (T3) later.

The investigators found that the average frequency of MDD was 13.5, 14.8, and 6.8 percent at T1, T2, T3, respectively. There were a total of 32 MDD cases diagnosed during the study period (20.6 percent) with good inter-rater diagnostic agreement. Functional impairment and previous history of depression were independent predictors of MDD (odds ratio, 3.9; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.5 to 10.8; and 2.7; 95 percent CI, 0.99 to 7.3, respectively). Many depressed patients dropped out of the study due to clinical deterioration but MDD continued for at least three months in nearly half of the patients with adequate follow-up.

"Most adults with glioma may not become depressed during primary treatment. However, the frequency of MDD seems to remain clinically significant, affecting up to one in five patients in the six months after starting radiotherapy," the authors write.

One of the study authors has given expert testimony in court on the psychiatric aspects of tumors.

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