A presurgical psychosocial intervention for breast cancer patients. psychological distress and the immune response

J Psychosom Res. 2000 Feb;48(2):187-94. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(99)00110-5.


Objective: The present study evaluated the feasibility and potential immunological benefit of a presurgical intervention for breast cancer patients.

Methods: Forty-one newly diagnosed breast cancer patients were randomized into control (standard care) and intervention groups. In addition to standard care, intervention group members received a two-session psychosocial intervention. Blood was drawn at three timepoints: (1) at preintervention; (2) at postintervention/presurgery; and (3) at postsurgery.

Results: Examination of the immunological data revealed evidence of suppression of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) in the control group over time, but not in the intervention group. Secondary findings related to psychological assessment generally paralleled the IFN-gamma results.

Conclusion: The relevance and applicability of these findings to future breast cancer intervention research is detailed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / immunology*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Random Allocation
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Interferon-gamma