Symptoms of depression were reported by one-quarter of men with prostate cancer and associated with increased mortality, disproportionately affecting Black patients. These findings were presented during the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 2021 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

Electronic medical records from the Veterans Health Administration Corporate Data Warehouse were analyzed for this retrospective study. Researchers assessed 32,194 veterans with no history of depression who received a diagnosis of prostate cancer between 2004 and 2013 for incidence of depression and mortality through 2019. Median age of veterans was 67 years (interquartile range [IQR], 62-73) and 25.4% were Black.

During a median follow-up of 9.9 years (IQR, 8.0-12.1), 25.7% of patients received a diagnosis of depression after their prostate cancer diagnosis. Among those with depression, 30.5% received antidepressants.

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Stratified by depression status, those with depression were at increased risk for all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.30; 95% CI, 1.25-1.35).

Stratified by ethnicity, Black patients were more likely to experience depression (aHR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.05-1.19) and less likely to receive antidepressants (aHR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.75-0.94). Depression in Black patients was also associated with increased mortality (aHR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.29-1.41); however, this was not a consequence of reduced antidepressant use, as antidepressant use was not associated with improved mortality (aHR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.97-1.13).

It remains unclear whether these findings could be generalizable to a nonveteran population.

Based on these data, the researchers concluded that men with prostate cancer commonly experienced depression and the adverse consequences from depression disproportionately affect Black men.

Disclosure: Multiple authors declared affiliations with or received funding from the pharmaceutical industry. Please refer to the original article for a full list of disclosures.


Parikh RB, Gallo JJ, Cashy J, et al. Racial disparities in depression incidence, management, and mortality after prostate cancer diagnosis. J Clin Oncol. 2021;39(suppl 6):abstr 201. doi:10.1200/JCO.2021.39.6_suppl.201

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor