Background: Mixed reports exist about the impact of supportive-expressive group therapy (SEGT) on survival.
Methods: From 485 women with advanced breast cancer recruited between 1996-2002, 227 (47%) consented and were randomized within an average 10 months of cancer recurrence in a 2:1 ratio to intervention with 1 year or more of weekly SEGT plus three classes of relaxation therapy (147 women) or to control receiving three classes of relaxation therapy (80 women). The primary outcome was survival; psychosocial well-being was appraised secondarily. Analysis was by intention-to-treat.
Results: SEGT did not prolong survival (median survival 24.0 months in SEGT and 18.3 in controls; univariate hazard ratio for death 0.92 [95% CI, 0.69-1.26]; multivariate hazard ratio, 1.06 [95% CI, 0.74-1.51]). Significant predictors of survival were treatment with chemotherapy and hormone therapy (p<0.001), visceral metastases (p<0.001) and advanced disease at first diagnosis (p<0.05). SEGT ameliorated and prevented new DSM-IV depressive disorders (p = 0.002), reduced hopeless-helplessness (p = 0.004), trauma symptoms (p = 0.04) and improved social functioning (p = 0.03).
Conclusions: SEGT did not prolong survival. It improved quality of life, including treatment of and protection against depression.
Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.