Cancer-related Fatigue and Its Associations With Depression and Anxiety: A Systematic Review

Psychosomatics. Sep-Oct 2009;50(5):440-7. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.50.5.440.


Background: Fatigue is an important symptom in cancer and has been shown to be associated with psychological distress.

Objective: This review assesses evidence regarding associations of cancer-related fatigue with depression and anxiety.

Method: Database searches yielded 59 studies reporting correlation coefficients or odds ratios.

Results: The combined sample size was 12,103. Almost all studies showed a correlation of fatigue with depression and with anxiety. However, 31 different instruments were used to assess fatigue, suggesting a lack of consensus on measurement.

Conclusion: This review confirms the association of fatigue with depression and anxiety. Directionality needs to be better delineated in longitudinal studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Fatigue / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales