Depression and anxiety in glioma patients

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Neurooncol Pract


AbstractGlioma patients carry the burden of having both a progressive neurological disease and cancer, and may face a variety of symptoms, including depression and anxiety. These symptoms are highly prevalent in glioma patients (median point prevalence ranging from 16-41% for depression and 24-48% for anxiety when assessed by self-report questionnaires) and have a major impact on health-related quality of life and even overall survival time. A worse overall survival time for glioma patients with depressive symptoms might be due to tumor progression and/or its supportive treatment causing depressive symptoms, an increased risk of suicide or other (unknown) factors. Much is still unclear about the etiology of depressive and anxiety symptoms in glioma. These psychiatric symptoms often find their cause in a combination of neurophysiological and psychological factors, such as the tumor and/or its treatment. Although these patients have a particular idiosyncrasy, standard treatment guidelines for depressive and anxiety disorders apply, generally recommending psychological and pharmacological treatment. Only a few nonpharmacological trials have been conducted evaluating the efficacy of psychological treatments (eg, a reminiscence therapy-based care program) in this population, which significantly reduced depressive and anxiety symptoms. No pharmacological trials have been conducted in glioma patients specifically. More well-designed trials evaluating the efficacy of nonpharmacological treatments for depressive and anxiety disorders in glioma are urgently needed to successfully treat psychiatric symptoms in brain tumor patients and to improve (health-related) quality of life.

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