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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2017

Prevalence and prognostic implications of psychological distress in patients with gastric cancer

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2017
Gun Min Kim, Seung Jun Kim, Su Kyung Song, Hye Ryun Kim, Beo Deul Kang, Sung Hoon Noh, Hyun Cheol Chung, Kyung Ran Kim, Sun Young Rha
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12885-017-3260-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and prognostic significance of psychological distress in gastric cancer patients.


The study population included 229 gastric cancer patients visiting Yonsei Cancer Center between November 2009 and March 2011. The distress was measured by available tools including the Modified Distress Thermometer (MDT), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression Scale (CES-D). Patients with psychological distress were defined as those who scored above the cut-off values in both the MDT and either one of the HADS or CES-D.


The median age of patients was 56 (range, 20 to 86) and 97 (42.4%) patients were with stage IV disease status at enrollment. The overall prevalence of psychological distress was 33.6% (95% CI: 27.5–39.8%) in 229 gastric cancer patients. In multiple logistic regression analysis, lower education level (odds ratio [OR] 2.39; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.11–5.17, P = 0.026) and higher disease stage (OR 2.72; 95% CI 1.47–5.03, P = 0.001) were associated with psychological distress. In stage I-III disease, patients with psychological distress had worse disease-free survival (DFS) (5-year DFS rate: 60% vs 76%, P = 0.49) compared with those without psychological distress. In stage IV disease (n = 97), patients with psychological distress showed poorer overall survival than those without psychological distress (median OS (Overall Survival): 12.2 vs. 13.8 months, P = 0.019).


Psychological distress is common in patients with all stages of gastric cancer and is associated with worse outcomes.
Additional file 1: Supplementary figure and tables. Disease free survival differences by TNM sub-stage, psychiatric illness by age group. (DOC 109 kb)
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