Depression in patients with high-grade glioma: results of the Glioma Outcomes Project

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Center for Outcomes Research; Department of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery

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Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Brain Neoplasms; Depressive Disorder; Female; Glioma; Humans; Longitudinal Studies; Male; Middle Aged; Prevalence; Survival Rate; Treatment Outcome


Health Services Research


OBJECTIVE: To study the incidence of depression among patients undergoing surgery for high-grade glioma, document factors associated with the presence of depression, and examine the relationship between depression and patient outcome.

METHODS: Physician and patient reports of depression were analyzed immediately postoperatively and again 3 and 6 months after surgery for high-grade glioma. Physician-reported depression was defined according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, ed 4. Patient self-assessment of depression was based on responses to questions contained in two validated functional status surveys. Concordance of physician- and patient-reported depression was examined, along with the extent of use of pharmacological treatment for depression. Additional outcomes examined included quality of life, survival, patient satisfaction, and posttreatment complications.

RESULTS: Data from 598 patients were analyzed. In the early postoperative period, physicians reported depression in 15% of patients, whereas 93% of patients reported symptoms consistent with depression. The incidence of patient self-reported depression remained similar at 3- and 6-month follow-up, whereas physician reported depression increased from 15% in the early postoperative period to 22% at both 3- and 6-month follow-up. Concordance between physician recognition of depression and treatment of depression was low initially (33%) and increased at 3 and 6 months (51 and 60%, respectively). As compared with patients who were not depressed, survival was shorter and complications were more common among depressed patients.

CONCLUSION: Symptoms of depression were common immediately after surgery for glioma, and they increased throughout the 6-month period after surgery. These findings support the hypothesis that clinically important depression is a common complication in patients with high-grade glioma. Concordance between physician recognition of depression and self-reports of depression by patients was low. Concordance between physician recognition of depression and initiation of pharmacological antidepressant therapy was fair in the early postoperative period and improved somewhat over the subsequent 6-month period; however, within the 6-month period after surgery for glioma, antidepressant therapy was provided for only 60% of patients in whom the physician recognized depressive symptoms and in only 15% of patients who self-reported symptoms of depression. Findings from this observational study suggest the need for a controlled trial that is designed to test the hypothesis that more attention to the identification of postoperative depression and aggressive treatment of depressive symptoms can improve the quality of life and survival of patients after surgery for high-grade glioma.


Neurosurgery. 2004 Feb;54(2):358-66; discussion 366-7.

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