Effects of Psycho-Oncologic Interventions on Emotional Distress and Quality of Life in Adult Patients With Cancer: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
PURPOSEThis study aimed to evaluate the effects of psycho-oncologic interventions on emotional distress and quality of life in adult patients with cancer. METHODS Literature databases were searched to identify randomized controlled trials that compared a psycho-oncologic intervention delivered face-to face with a control condition. The main outcome measures were emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and quality of life. Outcomes were evaluated for three time periods: post-treatment, ≤ 6 months, and more than 6 months. We applied standard meta-analytic techniques to analyze both published and unpublished data from the retrieved studies. Sensitivity analyses and meta-regression were used to explore reasons for heterogeneity.ResultsWe retrieved 198 studies (covering 22,238 patients) that report 218 treatment-control comparisons. Significant small-to-medium effects were observed for individual and group psychotherapy and psychoeducation. These effects were sustained, in part, in the medium term (≤ 6 months) and long term (> 6 months). Short-term effects were evident for relaxation training. Studies that preselected participants according to increased distress produced large effects at post-treatment. A moderator effect was found for the moderator variable "duration of the intervention," with longer interventions producing more sustained effects. Indicators of study quality were often not reported. Small-sample bias indicative of possible publication bias was found for some effects, particularly with individual psychotherapy and relaxation training. CONCLUSION Various types of psycho-oncologic interventions are associated with significant, small-to-medium effects on emotional distress and quality of life. These results should be interpreted with caution, however, because of the low quality of reporting in many of the trials.