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Decreasing Depression Tied to Longer Survival in Breast CA

Last Updated: December 17, 2010.

Researchers studying women with metastatic breast cancer have found a correlation between a reduction in depressive symptoms and increased duration of survival; their findings have been published online Dec. 13 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

FRIDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers studying women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) have found a correlation between a reduction in depressive symptoms and increased duration of survival; their findings have been published online Dec. 13 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

To investigate the association between change in depressive symptoms and duration of survival, Janine Giese-Davis, Ph.D., of the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues analyzed depression data on 125 women with MBC randomly assigned to supportive-expressive group therapy or to a control group that received educational materials.

The researchers found that the women whose depression scores fell over the year-long study experienced a median survival time of 53.6 months, compared with 25.1 months for those whose depression scores increased. There was a significant effect of change in depression scores over the first year on survival up to 14 years but no significant relationship between treatment condition and depression score change on survival.

"Decreasing depression symptoms over the first year were associated with longer subsequent survival for women with MBC in this sample. Further research is necessary to confirm this hypothesis in other samples, and causation cannot be assumed based on this analysis," the authors write.

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