Longitudinal changes in depression symptoms were associated with differences in mortality among patients with lung cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

In a prospective, observational study, researchers evaluated data from 1790 patients with lung cancer through the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance Consortium.

Patients were given the 8-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale screening test at diagnosis and 12 months’ follow-up to determine longitudinal changes and their impact on survival.

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Among the observed patients, 681 had depression symptoms at baseline and 105 developed new-onset depression symptoms while undergoing treatment. Depression symptoms were associated with a 17% increased risk of mortality.

After comparing longitudinal changes in depression symptoms from baseline to follow-up using patients with “never-depression symptoms” as a reference, the researchers found that the hazard ratio was 1.50 for patients with new-onset depression symptoms, 1.02 for those with depression symptom remission, and 1.42 for those with persistent depression symptoms.

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Depression symptoms were associated with increased mortality among patients with early-stage disease but not late-stage disease at baseline, while they were associated with mortality in both stages at follow-up.


  1. Sullivan DR, Forsberg CW, Ganzini L, et al. Longitudinal changes in depression symptoms and survival among patients with lung cancer: a national cohort assessment. J Clin Oncol. 2016 Oct 3. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2016.66.8459. [Epub ahead of print.]