Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 129–140 | Cite as

Evaluation by multidimensional instruments of health-related quality of life of elderly cancer patients undergoing three different “psychosocial” treatment approaches

A randomized clinical trial
  • Giovanni MantovaniEmail author
  • Giorgio Astara
  • Biancarosa Lampis
  • Alessandro Bianchi
  • Luigi Curreli
  • Walter Orrù
  • Mauro Giovanni Carta
  • Bernardo Carpiniello
  • Paolo Contu
  • Nereide Rudas
Original Article


Our study belongs to the clinical trials in which the health-related quality of life (HQL) evaluation constitutes the primary endpoint. It was carried out with the aim of comparing the impact of three different types of psychological intervention, namely a psychopharmacological treatment alone, the same treatment plus social support carried out by volunteers (SSV) and a third treatment modality including “structured psychotherapy” (autogenous training), on improving the HQL of elderly cancer patients undergoing antineoplastic therapy with symptoms of anxiety and/or depression related to their disease. The eight questionnaires used for HQL evaluation were generally. self-rated and multidimensional but unidimensional models were also employed. Seventy-four patients aged over 65 years with either solid tumors in different sites or hematological malignancies, generally in advanced stages (III–IV), were enrolled in the study. Of these patients, 72 (42 men and 30 women, mean age 70.68 years, range 66–85) were evaluable. Our study high-lighted the usefulness of the pharmacological therapy (alprazolam + sulpiride) and of other specific ancillary treatments in reducing the incidence of the main HQL-related side-effects of antineoplastic therapy and the superiority of an “integrated” strategy, based both on psychopharmacology and psychosocial interventions, such as SSV with or without structured psychotherapy. The one-way analysis of variance carried out by us did not allow us to draw definitive conclusions about which of the two integrated treatments was to be considered the treatment of choice, as they proved to be almost equally effective.

Key words

Elderly cancer patients Health-related quality of life Multidimensional measurements Social support Structured psychotherapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Mantovani
    • 1
    Email author
  • Giorgio Astara
    • 1
  • Biancarosa Lampis
    • 1
  • Alessandro Bianchi
    • 1
  • Luigi Curreli
    • 1
  • Walter Orrù
    • 2
  • Mauro Giovanni Carta
    • 2
  • Bernardo Carpiniello
    • 2
  • Paolo Contu
    • 3
  • Nereide Rudas
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Medical Oncology, Institute of Internal MedicineUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly
  3. 3.Department of Hygiene and Public HealthUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly

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