Antidepressant use after colon cancer diagnosis does not increase risk of recurrence

17 Feb 2019
Antidepressant use after colon cancer diagnosis does not increase risk of recurrence

Though the use of antidepressants after diagnosis is widespread among colon cancer patients, it does not appear to increase the risk of recurrence, reports a new study.

Of the 1,923 adult colon cancer patients (aged 18 years; 52.4 percent male) included in the study, 807 reported any antidepressant use after being diagnosed. The resulting prevalence rate was 42 percent. Only those with stage I–IIIA malignant adenocarcinoma of the colon or of the rectosigmoid junction were eligible for inclusion.

Over a median follow-up of 4.7 years (10,831 person-years), 139 participants had cancer recurrence, yielding a recurrence rate of 12.8 per 1,000 person-years. There was no significant difference in the risk of recurrence between those who did and did not use antidepressants after diagnosis (hazard ratio [HR], 1.14; 95 percent CI, 0.69–1.87).

Analysis according to type of antidepressant used produced similar results. The use of neither selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI; HR, 1.22; 0.64–2.30) nor tricyclic antidepressants (TCA; HR, 1.18; 0.68–2.07) significantly increased the likelihood of colon cancer recurrence.

In a secondary analysis, antidepressant use also did not significantly increase the risk of developing a second primary colorectal cancer (HR, 1.32; 0.86–2.02; SSRIs: HR, 1.16; 0.68–1.99; TCA: HR, 1.24; 0.77–2.00).

The findings were robust to various sensitivity analyses, wherein the definition of colorectal cancer was expanded or the sample was restricted to those with at least two antidepressant prescriptions or those without prediagnosis medication use.

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