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Poster Display session 1

5503 - Impact of Cognitive-Behavioral-Therapy (CBT) on levels of anxiety, depression and distress in cancer patients (pts)


28 Sep 2019


Poster Display session 1


Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer

Tumour Site


Daniela Tregnago


Annals of Oncology (2019) 30 (suppl_5): v667-v670. 10.1093/annonc/mdz262


D. Tregnago1, L. Carbognin2, I. Trestini3, A. Avancini4, G. Sartori5, E. Fiorio6, V. Parolin6, M. Lanza7, M. Rimondini8, L. Del Piccolo9, E. Bria10, M. Milella11, S. Pilotto6

Author affiliations

  • 1 Medical Oncology, University of Verona Hospital Trust, 37134 - Verona/IT
  • 2 Division Of Gynecologic Oncology, Department Of Woman And Child Health, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli, I.R.C.C.S., Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 00168 - Roma/IT
  • 3 Department Of Oncology, Pancreas Institute, University of Verona Hospital Trust, 37134 - Verona/IT
  • 4 Biomedical Sciences, Department Of Medicine, University of Verona Hospital Trust, 37134 - Verona/IT
  • 5 Department Of Oncology, University of Verona Hospital Trust, 37134 - Verona/IT
  • 6 Medical Oncology, AOU Integrata Borgo Roma Verona, 37134 - Verona/IT
  • 7 Biomedicine And Movement Sciences, University of Verona Hospital Trust, 37121 - Verona/IT
  • 8 Neuroscience, Biomedicine And Movement, University of Verona Hospital Trust, 37134 - Verona/IT
  • 9 Department Of Neuroscience, Biomedicine And Movement, University of Verona, Verona/IT
  • 10 Medical Oncology, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, 00168 - Roma/IT
  • 11 Oncology, Università degli Studi di Verona, 37129 - Verona/IT


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Abstract 5503


Oncological pts usually experience symptoms that include anxiety, depression and distress. The aim of this preliminary study was to explore the effect of Cognitive-Behavioral-Therapy (CBT) in cancer pts.


An open trial evaluated the treatment effects of CBT in breast and lung pts referring to a clinical psychology health service specialized in psycho-oncology. Levels of anxiety and depression were assessed using the validated self-report questionnaires Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), while the distress was evaluated with the Distress Thermometer (DT). The statistical analysis includes the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney and the Spearman rank tests.


At a median follow-up of 6 months, data from 43 pts (88% breast and 12% lung cancer) were prospectively collected (median age: 49 years). At baseline, 62.8% and 44.2% of pts were borderline abnormal for anxiety and depression, while 34.9% and 30.2% reported abnormal levels. All pts presented high levels of distress. A significant correlation between anxiety and depression was observed (rs=0.55; p < 0.01), as well as distress (rs=0.78; p < 0.01) and baseline body mass index (BMI) (rs=0.41; p < 0.01). Moreover, depression was associated with distress (rs=0.70; p < 0.01), age (rs=0.30; p = 0.05) and time from diagnosis (rs=0.30; p = 0.04). Six months after the CTB, only 7% and 5% of pts had abnormal levels of anxiety and depression, while borderline abnormal values were observed in 58% and 40% of pts, respectively. Furthermore, after CTB the levels of anxiety (p < 0.001), depression (p < 0.001) and distress (p < 0.001) were significantly lower than baseline. Of interest, a sub-analysis among breast cancer pts showed that baseline BMI was related to anxiety (rs=0.49; p = 0.002) and distress (rs=0.37, p = 0.02). Physical activity level was inversely associated with anxiety (rs=-0.41; p = 0.01), depression (rs=-0.49; p = 0.002) and distress (rs=-0.40; p = 0.01).


These results highlight the importance of the introduction in clinical routine of validated psychological screening for anxiety, depression and distress as well as psychological intervention, carried out by trained psycho-oncology.

Clinical trial identification

Editorial acknowledgement

Legal entity responsible for the study

University of Verona.


Has not received any funding.


E. Bria: Honoraria (self): MSD, AstraZeneca, Celgene, Pfizer, Helsinn, Eli Lilly, BMS, Novartis, and Roche. ; Research grant / Funding (self): AIRC-IG 20583. M. Milella: Honoraria (self): Pfizer, EUSA Pharma, AstraZeneca. S. Pilotto: Honoraria (self): AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, BMS, Boehringer Ingelheim, Roche, MSD and Istituto Gentili. ; Research grant / Funding (self): AIRC-IG 20583. All other authors have declared no conflicts of interest.

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