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Psychotherapy for advanced cancer patients: A meta-analysis of the quality of life and survival assessments

Palliat Support Care. 2022 Jun 9:1-7. doi: 10.1017/S1478951522000694. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: A meta-analysis has explored the effect of psychotherapy on the quality of life (QOL) but has not explored the effect on advanced cancer patients’ survival, which is highly debated. Therefore, we consider the survival days and QOL as the primary outcomes in our analysis.

METHODS: Eligible studies were collected from four databases (PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science) until February 20, 2021. The pooled effect sizes were presented as weighted mean difference (WMD) or relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Publication bias was evaluated by Egger’s test, and I2 statistics was used to assess the heterogeneity.

RESULTS: Thirty-three studies were finally included, containing 2,159 patients in the psychotherapy group and 2,170 patients in the control group. McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire (MQOL) and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life-C15-Palliative (EORTC-QLQ-C15-Pal) supported that QOL of the psychotherapy group was significantly higher than that of the control group, and WMD value was 0.42 (95% CI: 0.12-0.71) and 17.26 (95% CI: 11.08-23.44), respectively. No significant difference was observed between the two groups regarding to the survival time (WMD: 17.85, 95% CI: -8.79, 44.49, P = 0.189). Moreover, the levels of anxiety, depression, confusion, pain, and suffering were lowered in psychotherapy group (all P < 0.05).

SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Psychotherapy could improve the QOL of advanced cancer patients but not affect the survival time.

PMID:35678169 | DOI:10.1017/S1478951522000694

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