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Review: depression is associated with increased cancer mortality

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Are there associations between depression and mortality of cancer patients and do these vary dependent on the study characteristics?


RR ratio for depression and cancer mortality.



Systematic review and meta analysis.

Data sources:

Medline, Cochrane Data Base, PsychLit, and PSYNDEX were searched for relevant studies.

Study selection and analysis:

Criteria for inclusion in the meta analysis were studies including cancer patients or prospective community-based studies reporting cancer mortality; depressive disorders diagnosed according to ICD-10 DSM-III, III-R or IV; or depressive symptoms assessed with self-rating scales or interviewer ratings. Also, statistics could be calculated or estimated for associations between depression and mortality. RR were calculated for each study and pooled using random-effects models. Heterogeneity was assessed using the Q statistic. Analyses were carried out to look at the effects of potential moderator variables.

Main results

A total of 76 studies met inclusion criteria (176 863 participants); 26 studies included …

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  • Source of funding: US Public Health Service.


  • Competing interests None.

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