Walker, J., Sawhney, A., Hansen, C.H., Symeonides, S., Martin, P., Murray, G., & Sharpe, M. (2013). Treatment of depression in people with lung cancer: A systematic review. Lung Cancer (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 79(1), 46–53.doi:10.1016/j.lungcan.2012.09.014
To determine, by using a systematic review, which, if any, treatments have been found to be effective in reducing depression in patients with lung cancer
The total number of references retrieved was 143. The evaluation method consisted of the review, by two independent researchers, of full articles.
No trials aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments for depression in people with lung cancer. The six trials in the sample discussed interventions intended to improve symptoms related to quality of life, and each trial included a measure of depression as a secondary measure. The interventions, depression measures, and time of measurement varied. The interventions included breathlessness advice and discussion, education about self-referral for local psychosocial resources, counseling, coping skills training (including progressive muscle relaxation and symptom management strategies), early introduction of palliative care, and supportive psychotherapy. Studies indicated that enhanced care was more effective in reducing depression symptoms than was standard care.
Patients with lung cancer tend to be older adults with medical comorbidities, and these patients tend to suffer severe physical deterioration. Although standard depression treatments may be a reasonable course for treating depressed people with lung cancer, no randomized controlled trials (RCTs) guide clinicians in treating this population.
No evidence guides clinicians who are caring for this specific population; well-conducted RCTs are urgently needed. Analysis indicates that clinicians may consider, as tools to reduce depression, depression treatments effective in older adults in the general population and those with medical comorbidities.