Risk factors for depression symptoms signify the need for enhanced surveillance among some subgroups of patients with lung cancer, according to a study published in Lung Cancer.1

Researchers conducted a prospective observational study of 1790 patients with lung cancer across 5 health care systems, as well as 15 Veterans Affairs medical centers, to identify risk factors that may contribute to new onset depression throughout treatment.

The authors administered the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale at baseline and follow-up, with scores of at least 4 that indicate elevated symptoms of depression. Associations among depression symptoms, health domains, and mortality were examined.

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Among the observed patients, 38% had depression at baseline; 31% survived until follow-up. Risk factors for symptoms of depression at follow-up included younger age, female sex, low income, unmarried status, and current smoking status.

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A high school education was associated with reduced odds of symptoms at follow-up.

Depression was associated with worse health-related quality of life, vitality, cancer-specific symptoms, and social support among these patients, in contrast with those without symptoms of depression. The association among symptoms and increased mortality was greater with greater numbers of cancer-associated symptoms.


  1. Sullivan DR, Forsberg CW, Ganzini L, et al. Depression symptom trends and health domains among lung cancer patients in the CanCORS study. Lung Cancer. 2016 Aug 26. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2016.08.008 [Epub ahead of print]