You are here

Interpersonal Therapy for Depression in Breast Cancer Study

Carlos Blanco, M.D., PhD, New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University, New York, NY
Study abstract

Depressive disorders and symptoms are prevalent in patients with breast cancer, worsen over the course of cancer treatment, persist after cancer therapy, significantly impair quality of life, and decrease adherence to cancer therapy and survival. Yet, there are no established treatments for depression in breast cancer patients. As surviving cancer becomes increasingly common, there is an urgent need to develop an empirical basis to provide effective, evidence-based treatments to this population.

We are conducting a randomized clinical trial to compare the efficacy of Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Problem-Solving Therapy (PST), and Brief Supportive Psychotherapy (BSP) in alleviating depressive symptoms and improving quality of life for breast cancer patients with DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD). In addition to improvement in depressive symptoms, relationships between sociodemographic characteristics, clinical factors, depression treatment adherence, and outcomes care will be examined. Patients in each condition will receive 12 therapy sessions within a 16-week period, and will be followed for another 4 months to examine the stability of response.

Study review

This study at New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University is investigating which type of talk therapy is the most effective treatment for depression in women and men who have had a breast cancer diagnosis. It enrolled women and men who had a diagnosis of stage I-IV breast cancer more than six months prior to joining the study. The researchers wanted to enroll up to 150 volunteers in the New York Area and contacted the Army of Women (AOW) to help with their recruitment efforts. The Call to Action for this study was sent to AOW members on Nov. 30, 2011, and the researchers closed enrollment on Jan. 21, 2016. The AOW provided them with 110 volunteers who were interested in enrolling in the study.