Biofeedback and Self-regulation

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 1–22

Immunological responses of breast cancer patients to behavioral interventions


  • Barry L. Gruber
    • Medical Illness Counseling Center
  • Stephen P. Hersh
    • Medical Illness Counseling Center
    • Department of Psychiatry and PediatricsGeorge Washington University School of Medicine
    • Pediatric Oncology BranchNational Cancer Institute
  • Nicholas R. S. Hall
    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of South Florida School of Medicine
  • Lucy R. Waletzky
    • Medical Illness Counseling Center
    • Department of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and GynecologyGeorgetown University Medical Center
  • John F. Kunz
    • Medical Illness Counseling Center
  • Joann K. Carpenter
    • Medical Illness Counseling Center
  • Karan S. Kverno
    • Medical Illness Counseling Center
  • Sharlene M. Weiss
    • Medical Illness Counseling Center
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1007/BF00999510

Cite this article as:
Gruber, B.L., Hersh, S.P., Hall, N.R.S. et al. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation (1993) 18: 1. doi:10.1007/BF00999510


This article reports the results of an 18-month study of immune system and psychological changes in stage 1 breast cancer patients provided with relaxation, guided imagery, and biofeedback training. Thirteen lymph node negative patients who had recovered from a modified radical mastectomy were randomly assigned to either an immediate treatment or a delayed treatment control group. Multiple pre-post psychological measures were performed. Significant effects were found in natural killer cell (NK) activity (p<.017), mixed lymphocyte responsiveness (MLR) (p<.001), concanavalin A (Con-A) responsiveness (p<.001), and the number of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) (p<.01). No significant psychological changes were detected; however, reductions were seen in psychological inventory scales measuring anxiety. The results show that behavioral interventions can be correlated with immune system measures, thereby replicating the results of an earlier pilot study from our Center. Discussion is provided on differential T-cell and B-cell responsiveness to behavioral interventions.

Descriptor Key Words

biofeedback (psychology)breast neoplasmspsychoneuroimmunologybehavior therapyrelaxation techniques

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993