, Volume 113, Issue 3, pp 425-432
Date: 27 Apr 2013

Suicide ideation in pediatric and adult survivors of childhood brain tumors

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Survivors of pediatric brain tumors are at risk for long-term psychological morbidities. The current study investigated the prevalence and predictors of suicide ideation (SI) in a clinical sample of youth and adult survivors. Retrospective chart reviews were completed for 319 survivors of pediatric brain tumors who were assessed via clinical interview during routine neuro-oncology clinic visits between 2003 and 2007. Survivors were, on average, 18.0 years of age (SD = 4.9) and 10 years from diagnosis (SD = 5.0) at their most recent follow-up. The most common diagnosis was low-grade glioma (n = 162) followed by embryonal tumors (PNET/medulloblastoma; n = 64). Multivariable logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) for SI. Nearly 12 % of survivors (11.7 %, n = 37) reported SI. Five survivors (1.5 %) had documented suicide attempts, though none were fatal. In a multivariable model, adjusting for sex and age, history of depression (OR = 20.6, 95 % CI = 4.2–101.1), psychoactive medication treatment (OR = 4.5, 95 % CI = 1.8–11.2), observation or surgery only treatment (OR = 3.7, 95 % CI = 1.5–9.1), and seizures (OR = 3.6, 95 % CI = 1.1–11.1) were significantly associated with SI in survivors. Survivors of pediatric brain tumors appear to be at risk for experiencing SI. Our results underscore the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to providing follow-up care for childhood brain tumor survivors, including routine psychological screenings.

Portions of this work were presented at the 42nd Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology, Boston, Massachusetts, October 2010.