News | September 24, 2013

Two-Item Questionnaire Aids Depression Screening for Radiation Therapy Patients

ASTRO Clinical Study Questionnaire Depression Screening Radiation Therapy

September 24, 2013 — Cancer patients receiving radiotherapy (RT) who are potentially suffering from depression can be effectively identified by a two-item questionnaire, according to research presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s (ASTRO’s) 55th Annual Meeting.

The Radiation Oncology Therapy Group (RTOG) Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP)-supported multi-institutional clinical study screened 455 patients receiving radiation treatment at 37 centers around the United States. Participants in the study were seeking treatment for breast cancer (45 percent); GI cancer (11 percent); lung cancer (10 percent); gynecologic cancer (6 percent); or other cancers (27 percent). Sixty-six percent of the patients in the trial (298) were women.

Depression screenings were performed before or within two weeks of treatment of the initial cancer diagnosis. The screening forms included the single-item National Comprehensive Cancer Network-Distress Thermometer (NCCN-DT); the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL-25); and the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire, (PHQ-9), which includes Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) as its first two questions. All of the study participants answered the screening questionnaires with 100 percent completion.

Patients received the PHQ-9 and were asked if, within the past two weeks, they had “little interest or pleasure in doing things,” or “if they were feeling down, depressed or hopeless.” It was discovered that patients’ responses to these two questions (the PHQ-2) were as useful in identifying depression as results from the entire PHQ-9, and were more indicative than results from the NCCN-DT.

Within the study, a total of 75 patients (16 percent) screened positively for depressive symptoms. PHQ-9 and PHQ-2 had similar accuracy in detecting depression with an area under the curve (AUC) of approximately 0.83 for each and was superior to the HLSC-25 (.79) and the NCCN-DT (.60).

Of the facilities included in the study, 68 percent offer mental health services. Patients who screened positive for depression symptoms, along with a systematic sample of patients who screened negative, were administered the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) Mood Disorder modules by telephone. The study determined that screening in an RT setting was well received by patients and feasible.

“Detection of depression in cancer patients is an important public health priority, and the ability to screen and treat cancer patients for depression can have a major impact on a patient’s quality of life,” said William Small Jr., M.D., FASTRO, presenting author of the study and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Loyola University Chicago. “This study was designed to test the feasibility of screening for major depression in cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.

The ability of a two-question survey to effectively screen for depression will hopefully prompt more centers to screen and to refer patients in need of mental health services,” said Lynn I. Wagner, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University in Chicago.

The abstract, “RTOG 0841: Two Item Questionnaire Effectively Screens for Depression in Cancer Patients Receiving Radiotherapy,” was presented at ASTRO’s Annual Meeting in the Plenary session Sept. 23.

For more information: www.astro.org

Related Content

Sponsored Content | Videos | Proton Therapy | August 21, 2017
Mark Pankuch, Ph.D., director of medical physics at the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center, discusses the cl
Summit Cancer Center-Boise Treats First Cancer Patients With Accuray Radixact System
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | August 21, 2017
Accuray Inc. and the Summit Cancer Center-Boise announced that the center is now treating patients with the Radixact...
MedStar Georgetown Proton Center Selects RayStation for Treatment Planning
News | Treatment Planning | August 17, 2017
August 17, 2017 — The proton center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital will utilize RayStation for planning on
DOSIsoft Releases ISOgray Proton Therapy Treatment Planning System
Technology | Treatment Planning | August 15, 2017
DOSIsoft SA announced the official release, with CE marking, of ISOgray Treatment Planning System (TPS) release 4.3 for...
First Radixact Results Presented at AAPM 2017
News | Radiation Therapy | August 10, 2017
Accuray Inc. announced that the first studies validating the benefits of the Radixact System were presented at the 59th...
Clinical Data Supports Use of Xoft System for Endometrial Cancer
News | Brachytherapy Systems | August 03, 2017
Researchers presented clinical data supporting use of the Xoft Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy (eBx) System for the...
Aktina’s interchangeable cones are lightweight and extremely accurate
News | Radiation Therapy | August 02, 2017
Aktina Medical announced a collaboration with Philips Medical Systems and Elekta Instruments for SRS interlocking at...
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | July 31, 2017
Elekta’s magnetic resonance radiation therapy (MR/RT) system will be the subject of 21 abstracts at the 59th American...
Accuray Receives 510(k) Clearance for iDMS Data Management System
Technology | Oncology Information Management Systems (OIMS) | July 31, 2017
July 31, 2017 — Accuray Inc. announced it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S.
Overlay Init