Head: Anita Caruso, Psychologist
Quality of life study
The study “Facilitatori e/o barriere all’accesso al supporto psicologico in pazienti oncologici: uno studio multicentrico” aims to identify the clinical, demographic, psychosocial factors and the pathway of patients sending associated with adherence to psychological support in cancer patients. The study coordinator is IRE, in collaboration with the psycho-oncology structures of the Lazio region.
The multicenter study “Bisogni riabilitativi nelle pazienti affette da carcinoma mammario in fase precoce: l’utilizzo di un approccio basato sul patient reported outcome (PRO), coordinated by IRE and in collaboration with the other italian oncological IRCCS, is based on validation of a PRO questionnaire for the detection in the survival phase of rehabilitation needs in women with early breast cancer.
The studies “Epigenetic control of breast cancer progression: animal and clinical studies” (Ministero della Salute) and “Stile di vita come fattore di rischio nella progressione del tumore al seno: indagine sui biomarcatori neuroendocrini e molecolari dello stress” (Fondazione Umberto Veronesi) in collaboration with IRE Medical Oncology and ISS were aimed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in the effects of stress on breast cancer progression both in animal models and in high risk breast cancer patients.
Since July 2012 to date the clinical study enrolled 80 women (mean age = 50.5). At a median follow up of 20 months 40 women were evaluable for the first analysis.
The results showed that after six months of chemotherapy, patients showed increased levels of depression as well as cortisol and serum chemokine MIP-1b LFA-IV-, which has not only a tumor-promoting role but also is directly related with a poor prognosis. As concern psychological tests no difference emerged after six months after chemotherapy. However, the average score detected using the Beck depression inventory (BDI) indicated mild depression. Interestingly, we found increased levels of BDNF associated to decreased anxiety and depression levels at 12 months’ follow-up. Overall, data indicate that psychological factors can affect physiological responses in breast cancer patients. This is especially relevant since stressful events and negative affective states can amplify the consequences of the pathology precipitating disease progression and promoting recurrence. Further analyses are in progress in order to detect disease recurrence and increase the strength of the data.