(HealthDay News) – For patients with basal cell carcinoma (BCC), parental emotional maltreatment combined with a severe life event in the past year correlates with poor immune response to the BCC tumor, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

To examine the correlation between recent severe life events, childhood parental emotional maltreatment, and depression and the immune response in BCC, Christopher P. Fagundes, PhD, of The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, and colleagues reviewed data obtained from 91 patients (aged 23 to 92 years) with BCC.

The researchers found that interaction between both maternal and paternal emotional maltreatment and the occurrence of severe life events predicted the local tumor immune response (adjusted P=0.009 and 0.03, respectively). A poorer immune response to the BCC tumor was seen for patients with a severe life event within the past year who had been emotionally maltreated as children by their mothers or fathers (P=0.007 and 0.02, respectively). For those patients who did not experience a severe life event in the past year, emotional maltreatment was not linked to the immune response to BCC tumors. There was no correlation between depressive symptoms and local tumor immune response.

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“This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show that troubled early parental experiences, in combination with a severe life event in the past year, predict local immune responses to a BCC tumor,” the authors write. “These data complement and expand increasing evidence that the consequences of early parental experiences extend well beyond childhood.”

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