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CERCA UN ARTICOLO
ISCRIVITI ALLA NOSTRA NEWSLETTER
Treatment of depression in patients with breast cancer:
a critical review
, Mauro Mauri
, Mario Miniati
, Maricia Mancino
, Liliana Dell’Osso
, and Carlo Greco
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Psychiatry, and
Radiotherapy, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy;
Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Division
of Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA
antidepressants, breast cancer, depression treatment, psychotherapy.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Dr Giulia Gray of the University of Pisa, Italy, for the English revision.
Conflict of interest:
The authors have no conflict of interest.
Maricia Mancino, MD, Department of Radiotherapy, University of Pisa School of Medicine, 57 Roma Street, 56100 Pisa, Italy.
Received October 6, 2012;
accepted May 3, 2013.
Aims and background.
To summarize current knowledge on psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic options for patients with breast cancer and comorbid depression, starting from the psychiatric viewpoint. Issues on diagnostic boundaries of depression and outcome measures are raised.
We completed a literature review from the last 30 years (until March 2012) using PubMed by pairing the key words: ‘breast cancer and depression treatment’ (about 1431 works, including 207 reviews), ‘breast cancer and antidepressants’ (about 305 works, including 66 reviews), and in particular ‘selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and breast cancer’ (38 works, including 10 reviews) and ‘breast cancer and psychotherapy’ (603 works, including 84 reviews). Papers in the English language were selected, including recent reviews.
There is little evidence for the superiority of any one specific intervention with pharmacological options or psychotherapy. The heterogeneity of assessment criteria, the small number of subjects collected in systematic studies, the difficulty in adopting standardized outcome measures, and the limited numbers of available drugs with a favorable side effect profile are the main limitations that emerge from the literature. No conclusive findings are available on mid-term/long-term treatment strategies, or when depression is part of a bipolar disorder.
Further research is necessary to define the most appropriate approach to depression when it occurs in comorbidity with breast cancer. A more accurate definition of the clinical phenotypes of depression in the special population of patients with breast cancer is suggested as a key issue.
Breast cancer is the most common malignant disease among women. The incidence of breast cancer in the USA in 2011 was 226,870 new cases
. Diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer are still associated with a negative stigma. Signs and symptoms of depression, such as a high level of distress, demoralization, fatigue, sadness and hopelessness, are present in more than 40% of subjects with breast cancer
. Moreover, the prevalence of a major depressive episode (MDE) in patients with breast cancer ranges from 10 to 25%
. Several research lines have addressed topics related to the occurrence of depression in breast cancer: depression might be a complication of cancer, a direct consequence of physical suffering, or a comorbid condition between two disorders commonly reported in the general population
. Chemotherapy, including long-term prophylaxis with tamoxifen, might be associated with a higher risk of developing depressive symptoms and cognitive dysfunctions
. Moreover, depressive symptomatology might interfere with patients’ compliance with cancer treatment
Given that, the importance of accurate detection and treatment of depression in patients with breast cancer is widely accepted. Previous reviews have addressed this clinical area appropriately
. However, even if new knowledge has accumulated in recent years, several questions on treatment strategies remain unanswered.
The aim of the present review is to summarize current knowledge on psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic options for patients with breast cancer and comorbid depression, starting from the psychiatric viewpoint. Methodological issues regarding experimental study designs, diagnostic boundaries of depression and outcome measures are raised.
We searched the literature using the database of the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)-MedLine/Pubmed system. We considered published research reports related to treatment of depression in patients with breast cancer appearing through March 2012, based on applying various combinations of the following search terms: [breast cancer] and [depression] and [treatment] (1431 records, including 207 reviews of the literature), [breast cancer] and [antidepressants] (305 records, including 66 reviews of the literature), [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRI] and [breast cancer] (38 records, including 10 reviews of the literature) and [psychotherapy] and [breast cancer] (603 works, including 84 reviews of the literature). We selected the following:
English language studies;
papers on psychopharmacological treatment of depression in breast cancer patients, from the psychiatrist’s point of view;
papers focused on potential interactions between tamoxifen and SSRI;
papers on the most widely used psychotherapies for depression in the special population of patients with breast cancer, with special interest to the most recent ones, namely interpersonal psychotherapy.
Antidepressants for the treatment of depressive spectrum disorders among patients with breast cancer
Several studies have evaluated the efficacy of antidepressants in patients with breast cancer, considering also that the impact of depressive symptomatology on adherence to anti-cancer therapies is a crucial issue
(Table 1). Early observations involved patients with different types of cancer. Only the most recent reports were specifically dedicated to patients with breast cancer.
One of the first studies was conducted on a sample of 73 women with a different subtype of cancer. Forty-seven patients were included with the diagnosis of breast cancer
. A significant improvement of the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) scores was demonstrated with mianserin (a tetra-cyclic noradrenergic and serotonergic antidepressant) compared to placebo. Nonetheless, several limitations were intrinsically linked to the original study design and, more in general, were typical of the early observations in this field. Depression was considered as a ‘
major complication of cancer
’, according to the basic idea of the distinction between the
, and the
depressions, secondary to a physical and life-threatening disease. Research diagnostic criteria were utilized for the diagnosis of major depressive episodes, with a sub-classification in ‘
’. Mianserin was superior to placebo mainly in reducing sleep disturbances and anxiety somatic symptoms. The finding raised questions on the usefulness of outcome measures that mixed together the assessment of somatic, neurovegetative and anxious symptoms with depressed mood and anhedonia.
Taken as a whole, early studies showed methodological limitations. First, the adoption of heterogeneous criteria for patient selection: some studies included women who met criteria for major depressive disorder
, others included patients with adjustment disorders
, and yet others patients with depressive symptoms not fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for a major depressive episode
. The second limitation was on breast cancer stage selection: several studies did not differentiate between women with advanced metastatic cancer and women with early stage cancer
. Third, improvements in depressive symptomatology or in quality of life were the main goal of treatments, whereas recent studies have focused attention on the percentage of women achieving full remission
The adoption of nonhomogeneous outcome measures across the different experimental study designs is also complicated by the intriguing relationship between improvement of depressive symptoms on short-term observations and the hypothesized impact of a successful treatment of depression on compliance with chemotherapy on the mid-term/long-term follow-up.
Efficacy of short-term treatment of antidepressants for depression among patients with breast cancer has been demonstrated by a number of observations. Less is known about long-term treatment of depression, compliance with chemotherapy or prophylactic treatments and survival percentages. Fann
summarized available studies with antidepressants among patients with breast cancer. As far as we know, two more studies have been carried out during the last four years
. Available data derived from studies with a time frame no longer than 12 weeks, except for the study by Navari
, which was carried out with a 6-month follow-up.
As already described, Costa
treated 47 patients with breast cancer with mianserin compared to placebo, in a 4-week trial. Van Heeringen and Zivkov
enrolled 57 patients with breast cancer and major depression in a 6-week trial. Both studies showed a significant improvement of HAM-D
scores, with a reduction in severity and duration of depressive episodes.
Trazodone (an atypical antidepressant) and clorazepate (a long-acting benzodiazepine) were compared in a small 4-week open label study conducted on 18 patients with breast cancer at any stage and an adjustment disorder with depressed mood. Trazodone was superior to clorazepate in improving mood, anxiety and quality of life perception. Nonetheless, no significant differences were found
Fluoxetine, the first SSRI approved for the treatment of depression, was compared to placebo in a 5-week trial
. The sample included 69 patients with different types of cancer: 42 patients were diagnosed with breast or gynecological cancer, in comorbidity with major depression or adjustment disorder. Fluoxetine was not superior to placebo in terms of response. Moreover, dropouts were more frequent among patients randomized to fluoxetine than among patients randomized to placebo, even though the incidence of side effects was similar.
In a double-blind placebo-controlled trial
, women with advanced cancer, including 30 patients with breast cancer, were randomized to desipramine, fluoxetine or placebo. Fluoxetine was equal to desipramine in treating depression or adjustment disorders; both were superior to placebo.
More recently, Fisch
demonstrated that fluoxetine was superior to placebo for the treatment of depressive symptoms and for improvement of quality of life, in a sample of 163 patients with advanced solid cancer, including 27 patients with breast cancer.
A multicenter double-blind study on 179 patients with breast cancer and major depression compared the efficacy of paroxetine and amitriptilyne
. Both drugs were equally effective in improving depressive symptomatology (assessed with the Clinical Global Impression Scale) and quality of life. Paroxetine had a more favorable side effect profile.
Paroxetine (20 mg/day) was compared to placebo in an 8-week double-blind study on 549 patients (259 patients with breast cancer) undergoing chemotherapy
. The main goal of the study was to investigate the efficacy of paroxetine on depressed mood and fatigue. Patients were not required to meet criteria for major or minor depression. Response rates among patients with these diagnoses were not separately considered. Paroxetine was superior to placebo for the treatment of depressive mood (evaluated with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, CESDS), but was equal to placebo for the treatment of fatigue.
A 6-week double-blind placebo-controlled study compared paroxetine and desipramine
. The study sample included 35 women with breast cancer (at any stage) and major depression. No significant differences between the two treatment groups and the placebo group were found on HAM-D and Clinical Global Impression scores, probably because of the small sample size and the short-term design of the study.
Sertraline (50-100 mg/day) was administered to 35 patients with cancer, including 19 patients with breast cancer, comorbid with adjustment disorders or mood spectrum depressive disorders (namely, major depression, dysthymia and sub-threshold depression defined with a score >5 on the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV
scale - depression subscale, but not enough to meet DSM-IV criteria for major depressive disorder)
. Sertraline was effective, with a significant improvement in depression and anxiety subscales of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and of the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS).
In a small open-label study, 20 women with breast cancer at any stage meeting DSM-IV criteria for major depression were treated with reboxetine (a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor). Depressive symptoms, hopelessness and
‘anxious worry for malignancy’
significantly decreased during treatment
More recently, in an open-label 12-week prospective trial, escitalopram was found to improve depressive mood and quality of life in a sample of 79 outpatients with breast cancer, evaluated with the HAM-D, the Distress Thermometer (DT) and the Clinical Global Impression-Severity of Illness scale (CGISI-S). Surprisingly, improvement was noted starting from the first week of treatment
Interaction between SSRI antidepressant treatment and adjuvant therapy with tamoxifen
Tamoxifen (an estrogen-receptor modulator for the treatment of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer) is a pro-drug, and its efficacy is mediated by two active metabolites: 4 hydroxytamoxifen and 4-hydroxy-N-desmethyltamoxifen (endoxifen), with a 100-fold higher potency than the parent drug. Cytochrome P450 2D6 is responsible for tamoxifen conversion to active metabolites
. It has been hypothesized that patients with breast cancer who are CYP2D6
poor metabolizers’ might be at high risk of relapse and at low incidence of hot flushes induced by tamoxifen, mainly because of low endoxifen levels
. Nonetheless, results from clinical studies addressing the issue of a direct relationship between the decrease in plasma concentrations of endoxifen, the concomitant use of CYP2D6 inhibitors, and breast cancer relapse risk are inconsistent.
The treatment of a concomitant depressive episode complicates tamoxifen therapy, also because antidepressants might inhibit CYP2D6 to varying degrees. Paroxetine and fluoxetine are the strongest inhibitors, with paroxetine irreversibly inhibiting CYP2D6 activity. Compounds such as fluvoxamine and citalopram are instead weaker inhibitors
. Reduced plasma concentrations of endoxifen have been described for patients using paroxetine concomitantly with tamoxifen, not for those who were taking tamoxifen with venlafaxine (weak CYP2D6 inhibitor)
. Two studies carried out in the USA showed no association between antidepressants and rates of breast cancer recurrence or mortality, among users of the most potent CYP2D6 inhibitors fluoxetine and paroxetine, although these studies had the limitation of a low statistical power
A Danish population-based case-control study showed that the concurrent use of citalopram/escitalopram (the most frequently used SSRI among patients with breast cancer) and tamoxifen was not associated with a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence, regardless of the duration of concurrent use of the two compounds. Moreover, in a small subset of women taking more potent CYP2D6 inhibitors, namely fluoxetine, paroxetine and sertraline, concomitantly with tamoxifen, no association was demonstrated with breast cancer recurrences
described higher breast cancer mortality among women who were taking paroxetine concurrently with tamoxifen. The highest mortality occurred in women with the longest concurrent use of the two drugs.
In a recent Dutch study, no association was found between CYP2D6 inhibitor use (most frequently paroxetine and fluoxetine) tamoxifen prophylaxis, and breast cancer recurrences, although the finding was based on the occurrence of 18 breast cancers among SSRI users
As far as we know, no studies have examined the impact of concurrent use of the weaker CYP2D6 inhibitor, fluvoxamine on breast cancer outcome.
On the whole, results from the observational studies currently available seem to support the hypothesis of a negative impact of CYP2D6 inhibitors on breast cancer recurrence risk, when tamoxifen is utilized as prophylactic treatment. Therefore, it is possible that the reduction in plasma concentrations of active metabolites of tamoxifen from concurrent SSRI treatment does not correlate with efficacy of the same
Nonetheless, it is still recommended that weak inhibitors of CYP2D6, such as venlafaxine, citalopram or escitalopram, should be considered as first choice pharmacological treatment of depression (as well as of vasomotor symptoms) in patients who are currently treated with tamoxifen
Psychotherapy for depression in breast cancer
A limited number of studies has investigated psychotherapy for depression in patients with breast cancer; most of the studies enrolled patients with several forms of cancer. A meta-analysis summarized available data derived from randomized trials with different models of psychosocial treatments on patients with cancer, not exclusively breast cancer
. Interventions were classified in five categories, namely ‘
informational and educational treatments
social support by non-professionals
’, and ‘
’. No differences were found, in terms of response, between patients with ‘
early stage cancer’
and patients with ‘
advanced metastatic illness
’. Moreover, psychotherapies were found to be equally effective, when studies on patients with well-defined psychiatric syndromes were compared with studies on patients with distress secondary to the life-threatening diagnosis of cancer.
Two meta-analyses summarized results from trials with different psychotherapeutic approaches, among patients with cancer and anxiety or mood disorders
. Preventative psychosocial interventions in patients with cancer might have a moderate clinical effect upon anxiety and a negligible effect on distress. Group therapy was found to be at least as effective as individual therapy. Nonetheless, most observations in this field did not focus on ‘
’ but on the reduction of pain, fatigue and distress, or on the improvement of quality of life. More refined information derives from studies on the Supportive-Expressive Group Psychotherapy (SEGT). SEGT has a specific target on existential concerns, with strategies focused on the expression and management of disease-related emotions, the optimization of social support, and the enhancement of relationships with family and physicians.
The first prospective study on the efficacy of SEGT, in patients with breast cancer, was carried out by Spiegel
A sample of women treated with weekly SEGT and self-hypnosis for pain had a mean survival time (37.6 months) significantly higher than the control group followed-up with a routine treatment (18.9 months). However, the finding was not confirmed by a subsequent study of the same research group
In a clinical intervention trial, Classen
found that patients treated with SEGT showed a significantly greater decline in traumatic stress symptoms on the Impact of Event Scale than controls. The overall reduction in traumatic stress symptoms was linked to the decrease in avoidance symptoms. It has been hypothesized that the usefulness of SEGT might be due to the exposure to feared stimuli and to the focus on coping with a life-threatening condition. Survival time was not assessed as an outcome measure in the study.
A large multicenter study on 235 women with metastatic breast cancer showed that patients randomized to SEGT improved in several aspects of depressive spectrum symptomatology, such as sadness, anxiety, anger, confusion and worsening of pain. The most significant improvement was for patients who scored higher on distress at baseline. However, psychotherapy did not prolong survival time
. The same result was confirmed in a more recent randomized trial with SEGT
. Patients treated with psychotherapy showed lower levels of hopelessness and helplessness, had a smaller number of new depressive episodes, and improved in social functioning compared to the patients without psychotherapy. Again, survival time was not influenced by psychotherapy. Conversely, in a recent secondary analysis of a randomized trial with SEGT, patients with breast cancer showed a decrease of depressive symptoms over the first year, and this result was associated with a longer subsequent survival time
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is also considered an effective treatment for depression among patients with breast cancer. A randomized study was conducted on patients with any form of cancer who were treated with a brief, problems-focused CBT, specifically adapted for the needs of patients with cancer
. Patients on CBT, after 8 weeks of treatment, showed significantly higher scores than controls on ‘fighting spirit’, and significantly lower scores on helplessness, anxious preoccupation, fatalism, anxiety and orientation towards health care. After a 4-month follow-up, patients receiving CBT showed significantly lower scores than controls on anxiety, depression and distress
. In a more recent clinical trial specifically dedicated to patients with metastatic breast cancer, patients randomized to individual cognitive therapy showed a significant improvement in depressed mood, anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia compared to untreated patients
. Cognitive-existential group therapy (combining education, cognitive reappraisal and promotion of enhanced coping with existentially oriented and supportive-expressive strategies) was found to be able to decrease anxiety and to improve family interactions in a sample of patients with early breast cancer
Reports on other forms of psychotherapy are anecdotal and inconclusive. Peer-delivered telephone interventions were not able to reduce depression or distress
. A combination of psycho-educational support and nutritional interventions was proposed, with the aim to reduce depressive symptomatology and to improve physical functioning, among patients with several forms of cancer. A diminished interference of intrusive thoughts regarding cancer recurrence and mortality risk and an improvement in self-concept perceptions, or self-efficacy expectation, were described with these techniques
. Surprisingly, patients with low psychosocial resources seemed to benefit from nutrition interventions more than patients with a greater amount of psychosocial resources
. A recent randomized trial on patients with breast cancer showed that both psycho-education and group psychotherapy were unable to reduce distress, to increase quality of life, to promote mental adjustment or to improve marital relationships
An ongoing randomized clinical trial carried out by Blanco
is currently comparing the efficacy of iterpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) with problem-solving therapy and brief supportive psychotherapy on depressive symptoms, psychosocial functioning and quality of life among patients with breast cancer and major depressive disorder. IPT is an evidence-based time-limited psychotherapy with a soundly based evidence of efficacy for the treatment of major depression
, including depression in human immunodeficiency virus
and in other chronic physical diseases
Taken as a whole, studies with psychotherapy for patients with breast cancer are promising, even if, as observed for clinical trials with antidepressants, studies on psychotherapy for depression in patients with breast cancer are mainly limited by the selection of nonhomogeneous populations and the adoption of different study designs or outcome measures.
The management of comorbid depression is important in order to improve quality of life of patients with breast cancer and to minimize the risk of non-compliance to cancer treatments. Nonetheless, studies systematically addressing the issue of a multidisciplinary management of comorbidity between depression and breast cancer show several important methodological limitations.
SSRI have been extensively tested for patients with breast cancer, but no conclusive findings have emerged as yet from studies on the superiority of one SSRI over another. The combined and the sequential approaches (namely, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy followed by psychotherapy) are suggested strategies for the treatment of depression
. However, no systematic studies have addressed the question of whether to utilize the combined or the sequential treatment for depression in patients with breast cancer. Moreover, studies on brief psychotherapies with a soundly based knowledge of efficacy for depression, such as IPT, are still limited.
The selection of breast cancer patients for controlled studies is largely inadequate, both from an oncologic and a psychiatric point of views. Several observations have been carried out without any differentiation between the breast cancer stages. Studies on the efficacy of antidepressants, psychotherapy or their combination often included patients with adjustment disorders or demoralization, concurring to high placebo response rates
We strongly believe that the occurrence of depressive symptoms concomitantly with a stressful life event, such as a diagnosis of breast cancer, has to be considered as clinically relevant as the so-called ‘endogenous’ forms of depression. The importance of treating a clinically relevant depressive symptomatology is now universally accepted even when symptoms are apparently ‘justified’ by the occurrence of a stressful event. The debate is on the most appropriate strategy to treat depressive symptoms. Thus, when a full-blown depressive episode is present, the pharmacological approach still appears as the first line option, especially when suicidal thoughts or ideation are present. The occurrence of sub-threshold forms of depression, including transient demoralization, raises the question of whether to adopt a sequential approach with psychotherapy or psycho-educational support as the first-line option and pharmacotherapy as second-line treatment if symptoms become more severe
. Moreover, several observations have pointed out the importance of incomplete or attenuated forms of depression as precursors or prodromal of a subsequent full-blown depressive episode
A more refined description of the different phenotypes of depression, from the sub-threshold forms to the full-blown manifestations that might occur in comorbidity with breast cancer, is still lacking. For example, several studies have assessed the efficacy of psychotherapy in reducing distress, pain and fatigue
. Less is known about treatment response to full-blown forms of unipolar major depression, and virtually no distinction is present in the literature between the unipolar and the bipolar forms of depression.
Although more recent studies have been conducted with a much better understanding of the various presentations of depression, only a few research groups have attempted to underpin the new appreciation of the complexity of depressive disorders. The re-conceptualization of the clinical phenotypes of depression in breast cancer underlying the specific pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy treatment choices constitutes a real need for further investigation in a manner that more closely approximates clinical reality. Given that, the problem of an accurate definition of specific diagnostic criteria able to define depression in cancer patients is crucial. Thus, many symptoms overlap the side effects of cancer treatment and often improve after the end of such treatments
. Nonetheless, in clinically depressed patients, depressive concerns are extended beyond the implications of the somatic illness. These include a pervasive sense of hopelessness and helplessness, excessive guilt or self-deprecatory thinking, feelings of worthlessness, and a feeling that one is being punished or that life is without value, raising the risk of suicidal ideation or suicide attempts
. Obviously, even in this special population of patients, the strongest predictors of a full-blown comorbid depressive episode still remain the family and the personal history of depression and a personal history of previous suicide attempts.
The problem of measurement of depression in cancer patients leads to the question of whether specific tools are needed. There are a number of self-reported depression measures available for use in cancer care and oncology research. Several studies have been conducted comparing the psychometric performance of depression measures in cancer. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale resulted as the most commonly studied measure
, with the limitation of a cross-sectional observation in a number of cases
. It is still unclear whether or not to use instruments that include physical symptoms when assessing depression in patients with cancer. The finding of an increased prevalence of false-positive depression when somatic items are included in the evaluation of patients with cancer is questionable
Recent studies found that the inclusion of somatic symptoms when depression is screened among patients with severe somatic illnesses did not lead to the overdiagnosis of depression
. Considering that not all ‘depressed’ patients respond in a similar manner to current pharmacologic or psychotherapeutic interventions (even in the absence of an important comorbidity for a life-threatening condition), such a phenotypic re-conceptualization may offer a new opportunity for progress in treatment and their biological underpinnings.
Moreover, we strongly believe that psychotherapies other than cognitive therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or SEGT should be systematically tested for patients with breast cancer. For example, IPT is one of the best-studied and empirically validated psychotherapies for depression
. IPT is a time-limited psychotherapy based on the premise of a bidirectional relationship between depression and interpersonal difficulties or stressful life events
. During treatment, an interpersonal re-conceptualization of a patient’s difficulties is developed, and one or more of four problematic areas are considered as the ‘focus of treatment’. Problematic areas include interpersonal dispute, grief and loss, interpersonal deficit and role transitions, frequently occurring when a life-threatening disease is diagnosed.
Empirical support for the efficacy of IPT has been well established in a variety of clinical contexts, including patients recruited in medical settings
, patients with chronic illnesses and pain
, coronary diseases
, and medically frail older adults
. However, studies on IPT for depressed patients with breast cancer are lacking, despite the epidemiological and clinical relevance of the two diseases.
Given the addressed limitations of current knowledge on comorbidity between breast cancer and depression, we suggest the following recommendations for future research:
• Treatment studies should benefit from a more refined approach to clinical phenotypes of depression among patients with breast cancer.
• Clinical trials of pharmacotherapy for patients with breast cancer should be conducted not only for unipolar depression but also for bipolar depression.
• Randomized, controlled trials should be carried out to investigate whether the sequential or the combined approach (pharmacotherapy plus psychotherapy) is preferable, when depression is comorbid to breast cancer.
• Evidence-based psychotherapies other than cognitive therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or SEGT should be tested as valid treatment options. IPT is suggested for future research.
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