Use of tricyclic antidepressants and risk of glioma: a nationwide case-control study

Br J Cancer. 2016 May 24;114(11):1265-8. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2016.109. Epub 2016 Apr 26.


Background: A protective effect of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) against gliomas has been suggested by a small number of studies. We investigated this putative association in a nationwide setting.

Methods: Using a case-control design, we identified all patients with histologically verified glioma (cases) in Denmark between 2000 and 2012 and matched these 1 : 20 to population controls. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for glioma associated with long-term (⩾3 years) use of TCAs. Similar analyses were performed for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Results: We identified 3767 glioma cases and 75 340 population controls. Long-term use of TCAs was inversely associated with risk of glioma (OR 0.72, 95% CI: 0.41-1.25). Long-term SSRI use was not associated with glioma risk (OR 0.93, 95% CI: 0.75-1.16).

Conclusions: Our study indicated that long-term use of TCAs may be associated with a reduced risk of glioma, however, the statistical precision was limited. A similar pattern was not observed for use of SSRIs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / therapeutic use*
  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chemoprevention
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Drug Utilization
  • Female
  • Glioma / epidemiology
  • Glioma / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors