Interventions that may reduce depressive symptoms among prostate cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Timothy A. Newby, Julie Graff, Linda Ganzini, Marian McDonagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective Prostate cancer patients are at increased risk of depression yet there is no standard intervention to address this. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to examine the efficacy of interventions in reducing depressive symptoms in men with prostate cancer. Methods Searches for studies were conducted in four databases and by hand. Randomized controlled trials of any intervention relative to control for depression in prostate cancer patients at any stage of their cancer treatment were included. Results We identified 11 studies that randomized men with prostate cancer to either an intervention meant to improve some aspect of quality of life or control and reported depressive symptoms scores before and after the intervention or control condition. Two of these were not used in our meta-analysis either for concerns about quality or for lack of depression scores. The interventions identified in the remaining nine articles were exercise (four), information (three), psychotherapy or peer support (three), massage therapy (one), and medication (one). Several publications included more than one type of intervention. A meta-analysis of all studies showed that an intervention of some types significantly improved depressive symptom scores relative to the control condition (improvement in depression score by -0.86 unit (95% CI: -1.42, -0.31)). Isolating the peer support/psychotherapy studies also showed significant improvement (improvement in depression score by -1.09 unit (95% CI: -2.05, -0.13)). Conclusion Treatments to improve depressive symptoms in men with prostate cancer may be effective, with the best evidence supporting the use of peer support/psychotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1686-1693
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Exercise
  • Information
  • Oncology
  • Psychotherapy
  • prostate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Oncology


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