A pilot randomized trial assessing the effects of autogenic training in early stage cancer patients in relation to psychological status and immune system responses

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2004 Mar;8(1):61-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2003.09.003.


Autogenic training (AT) is a type of meditation usually used for reducing stress. This pilot study describes how AT was used on a group of early stage cancer patients and the observed effect on stress-related behaviours and immune system responses. This was a randomized trial with 31 early stage breast cancer women, having received a lumpectomy and adjuvant radiotherapy. The women were randomized into two groups. Group 1 received a home visit only. Group 2 received a home visit and 2 months' weekly Autogenic training. At the beginning and end of the 2 monthly periods, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and T and B cell markers were measured to give an indication of changes in immune system responses and measurement of anxiety and depression. At the end of the study, HADS scores and T and B cell markers remained similar in the women who did not receive AT. The women receiving AT showed a strong statistical difference for an improvement in their HADS scores and those women observed in a meditative state as opposed to a relaxed state were found to have an increase in their immune responses. This study suggests AT as a powerful self-help therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Autogenic Training*
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects