PSYCHOSOCIAL CORRELATES OF PROGESTERONE RECEPTORS IN BREAST CANCER


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Abstract

Background:The diagnosis of cancer may lead to psychological distress with anxiety and depression as the most prevalent symptoms. Several investigators have found a correlation between psychosocial factors and tumor levels of estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors (PRs) while others have not. The aim of this study was to investigate demographic characteristics and severity of depression and anxiety as expressed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) scale of patients with high or low PR expression in breast cancers.Methods:Two hundred and seventy-eight patients with primary breast cancer were divided into two subgroups according to PRs expressed in breast cancers.Results:The subgroup of patients with PR-negative breast cancers expressed depression, as measured by the HAD scale, to a smaller degree (4.7±4.1) than the subgroup of patients with PR-positive breast cancers (5.8±4.1). The difference was rather small but still statistically significant (t=2.1, df=236.7, P<.05). In contrast, we did not observe any correlation between anxiety and PR status. Differences between the subgroups according to family history of mental disorders were observed (χ2=4.7, df=1, P<.05). In the subgroup of patients with PR-negative breast cancers; 13% of patients had a family history of mental disorders compared with 23% of patients with PR-positive breast cancers.Conclusions:Depression expressed by patients with primary breast cancers could be influenced by the PR status of the tumors; however, other factors such as cancer treatment and family history of mental disorders could also be important.

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