Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 83–91

Sertraline effectiveness and safety in depressed oncological patients

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00520-007-0269-0

Cite this article as:
Torta, R., Siri, I. & Caldera, P. Support Care Cancer (2008) 16: 83. doi:10.1007/s00520-007-0269-0


Goals of work

Cancer is often burdened by psychological comorbidity, mainly represented by depression, anxiety and adjustment disorders. Efficacy and tolerability of sertraline in the treatment of depressive disorders is well known; however, its efficacy and safety in patients with cancer has been poorly studied. This study was aimed to provide evidences of effectiveness, safety, tolerability and rapidity of action of sertraline in a population of oncological outpatients affected by mood disorders and its effects on quality of life.

Materials and methods

Thirty-five adult cancer outpatients with mood depression, during chemotherapy, were enrolled to a 12-week trial with a flexible dose regime of sertraline. The treatment response was assessed at baseline, week 4 and week 12, with hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS) and Montgomery Asberg depression rating scale (MADRS), to rate depression and anxiety; mini mental adjustment to cancer scale (Mini-MAC), to assess the psychological response to the diagnosis of cancer; clinical global impression (CGI) to evaluate severity of illness; dosage record and treatment emergent symptom scale (DOTES), to assess the adverse effects of the clinical treatments and their possible relation with the drug used; and QL index to rate quality of life.

Main results

Both mean depression scores, analysed by HADS and MADRS scales, and HADS anxiety scores significantly decreased during the 12 weeks of study. Mean MINI-MAC scores show that hopelessness and anxious preoccupation decreased significantly at T2 compared with T0. No severe adverse effects were observed.


In this preliminary study, sertraline was found to be effective and well tolerated in the treatment of depressed outpatients with cancer.



Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SCDU Psicologia Clinica e OncologicaOspedale San Giovanni Battista di TorinoTurinItaly