Psychologic intervention improves survival for breast cancer patients

Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1222, USA.
Cancer (Impact Factor: 4.9). 12/2008; 113(12):3450-8. DOI: 10.1002/cncr.23969
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The question of whether stress poses a risk for cancer progression has been difficult to answer. A randomized clinical trial tested the hypothesis that cancer patients coping with their recent diagnosis but receiving a psychologic intervention would have improved survival compared with patients who were only assessed.
A total of 227 patients who were surgically treated for regional breast cancer participated. Before beginning adjuvant cancer therapies, patients were assessed with psychologic and behavioral measures and had a health evaluation, and a 60-mL blood sample was drawn. Patients were randomized to Psychologic Intervention plus assessment or Assessment only study arms. The intervention was psychologist led; conducted in small groups; and included strategies to reduce stress, improve mood, alter health behaviors, and maintain adherence to cancer treatment and care. Earlier articles demonstrated that, compared with the Assessment arm, the Intervention arm improved across all of the latter secondary outcomes. Immunity was also enhanced.
After a median of 11 years of follow-up, disease recurrence was reported to occur in 62 of 212 (29%) women and death was reported for 54 of 227 (24%) women. Using Cox proportional hazards analysis, multivariate comparison of survival was conducted. As predicted, patients in the Intervention arm were found to have a reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence (hazards ratio [HR] of 0.55; P = .034) and death from breast cancer (HR of 0.44; P = .016) compared with patients in the Assessment only arm. Follow-up analyses also demonstrated that Intervention patients had a reduced risk of death from all causes (HR of 0.51; P = .028).
Psychologic interventions as delivered and studied here can improve survival.

Download full-text


Available from: Barbara Lee Andersen, Jun 17, 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cognitive decline and accompanying neurological changes associated with non-CNS cancer diagnosis and treatment have been increasingly identified in a subset of patients. Initially believed to be because of neurotoxic effects of chemotherapy exposure, observation of cognitive decline in patients not treated with chemotherapy, cancer-diagnosed individuals prior to treatment, and patients receiving alternative treatment modalities (surgery, endocrine therapy, and radiation) has led to the investigation of additional potential etiologies and moderating factors. Stressful experiences have long been posited as a contributor to these cognitive changes. Through reciprocal connectivity with peripheral systems, the brain maintains a dynamic circuitry to adapt to stress (allostasis). However, overuse of this system leads to dysregulation and contributes to pathophysiology (allostatic load). At this time, little research has been conducted to systematically examine the role of allostatic load in cancer-related cognitive dysfunction.
    Psycho-Oncology 09/2014; DOI:10.1002/pon.3683 · 4.04 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Survivors of cervical cancer experience quality-of-life (QOL) disruptions that persist years after treatment. This study examines the effect of a psychosocial telephone counseling (PTC) intervention on QOL domains and associations with biomarkers. We conducted a randomized clinical trial in survivors of cervical cancer, who were ≥ 9 and less than 30 months from diagnosis (n = 204), to compare PTC to usual care (UC). PTC included five weekly sessions and a 1-month booster. Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and biospecimens were collected at baseline and 4 and 9 months after enrollment. Changes in PROs over time and associations with longitudinal change in cytokines as categorical variables were analyzed using multivariable analysis of variance for repeated measures. Participant mean age was 43 years; 40% of women were Hispanic, and 51% were non-Hispanic white. Adjusting for age and baseline scores, participants receiving PTC had significantly improved depression and improved gynecologic and cancer-specific concerns at 4 months compared with UC participants (all P < .05); significant differences in gynecologic and cancer-specific concerns (P < .05) were sustained at 9 months. Longitudinal change in overall QOL and anxiety did not reach statistical significance. Participants with decreasing interleukin (IL) -4, IL-5, IL-10, and IL-13 had significantly greater improvement in QOL than those with increasing cytokine levels. This trial confirms that PTC benefits mood and QOL cancer-specific and gynecologic concerns for a multiethnic underserved population of survivors of cancer. The improvement in PROs with decreases in T-helper type 2 and counter-regulatory cytokines supports a potential biobehavioral pathway relevant to cancer survivorship. © 2015 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 02/2015; 33(10). DOI:10.1200/JCO.2014.57.4079 · 17.88 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Integrative medicine is an approach to health and healing that "makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health care professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing." A comprehensive integrative medicine intervention for cancer patients typically includes nutritional counseling, biobehavioral strategies, and promotion of physical activity, as well as dietary supplements including herbs, nutraceuticals, and phytochemicals. A broad-spectrum intervention of this type may contribute uniquely to improvement in cancer outcomes through its impact on a wide variety of relevant molecular targets, including effects on multiple cancer hallmarks. Hallmarks that may be particularly affected include genetic instability, tumor-promoting inflammation, deregulated metabolism, and immune system evasion. Because of their susceptibility to manipulation by diet, exercise, and supplementation, these may be characterized as metabolic hallmarks. Research on the use of comprehensive integrative approaches can contribute to the development of systems of multitargeted treatment regimens and would help clarify the combined effect of these approaches on cancer outcomes. © The Author(s) 2015.
    Integrative Cancer Therapies 01/2015; 14(2). DOI:10.1177/1534735414567473 · 2.01 Impact Factor