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Mood disturbance and neurosteroids in women with breast cancer

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We studied the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity in breast cancer women and the neurosteroid concentrations in those subjects during cancer treatment to examine whether some biological factors change during psychiatric morbidity. Of the 49 eligible women, four were diagnosed with major depression and 16 with an adjustment disorder. Patients with an adjustment disorder had a significantly lower mean age than those with no psychiatric morbidity. Measurements of plasma dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS), estradiol and cortisol did not reveal significant differences among the three groups. We also did not find a significant correlation between any subscale of the Profile of Mood States and concentration of any of the steroids measured. Plasma DHEA, DHEAS, estradiol or cortisol values did not differ among women treated with tamoxifen alone, with chemotherapy alone or with both of these therapies. These results indicate that psychiatric morbidity is very high in women with breast cancer, but do not suggest that plasma neurosteroid levels are associated with psychiatric morbidity or with treatment of breast cancer. It is difficult to predict psychiatric morbidity in women with breast cancer from the viewpoint of biological measurements because the relationship between biological factors and psychiatric factors is complicated in these patients. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Keywords: adjustment disorder; breast cancer; major depression; neurosteroid

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Health Sciences, Hiroshima University School of Medicine, Japan 2: Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, Division of Frontier Medical Science, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Hiroshima University, Japan 3: Psycho-Oncology Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute East, Japan

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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