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Study Looks at Depression Following CAR-T for Hematologic Malignancies and QoL



According to a study recently published in Blood Advances, quality of life (QoL) suffers and physical and mental symptoms worsen in adults with hematologic malignancies receiving chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy one week after the infusion, before improving six months later.

Among adults with hematologic malignancies, Patrick Connor Johnson, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and associates looked at QoL, psychological distress, and physical symptoms at baseline, one week, one month, three months, and six months after CAR-T infusion. 100 patients in total were enrolled from April 2019 to November 2021.

The researchers discovered that after receiving CAR-T therapy, there was a decrease in QoL and depressive symptoms after one week, followed by an improvement after six months. 18%, 22%, and 22% of patients, respectively, reported clinically significant depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms at six months. At one week, 52% of patients reported having significant physical symptoms; this number fell to 28% at six months following CAR-T therapy. Poorer Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance, receipt of tocilizumab, and receipt of corticosteroids for cytokine release syndrome and/or immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome were all associated in unadjusted models with a higher QoL trajectory.

“Here we show significant improvements in quality of life among patients with an array of blood cancer diagnoses, receiving a variety of CAR-T products,” Johnson said in a statement. “However, we also identify a distinct subset of patients who have persistent physical and psychological symptom burden, even at the six-month post-CAR-T time point.”


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