Background: the aim was to verify the association between Major Depressive Disorders (MDD) and the risk of premature death in people with oncological diseases, and to collect evidence about the causality of a possible association from a longitudinal perspective.
Design and Methods: it is a cohort study lasting 9 months, involving people with solid or hematologic cancers. The assessment was conducted by an ad hoc form to collect socio-demographic and clinical-oncological data, the PHQ-9 to screen MDD (cut-off ≥10) and the SF-12 to evaluate HRQoL. Relative Risk (RR) of early death between MDD exposed and not-exposed and Kaplan-Meier survival were carried out.
Results: people exposed to MDD during the follow-up were 107/263 (40.7%). Among them, 36 deceased during the observation period. Overtime, having MDD and death’ occurrence showed a strong association (RR=2.15; 95% CI (1.10-4.20); χ²=5.224, p=0.0022), confirmed by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis (χ²=4.357, p=0.037). Among people who died, there was not any association between MDD, age, gender, HRQoL, cancer stage and site.
Conclusions: the study confirms the association between MDD and early death in people with cancer. The absence of any association between the onset of MDD and advanced stage of cancer may suggest that it could be due to the consequences of MDD in worsening the clinical conditions related to cancer. The findings point out the relevance of MDD’ early detention among people with cancer.
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