Psycho-oncology 2017 04 22() doi 10.1002/pon.4445
To summarise the evidence-base of psychological interventions for women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), by mode of delivery (group, individual, or low-intensity interventions). To synthesise data regarding core intervention-elements (e.g., intervention duration) and context factors (trial setting, uptake and adherence, demographic characteristics).
Four databases were searched (inception – May 2016): MEDLINE (OvidSP), PsycINFO (OvidSP), CINAHL (EBSCO), and SCOPUS; reference lists were examined for additional publications. Grey literature was excluded. Outcome data were extracted for survival, distress, quality of life, coping, sleep, fatigue, and/or pain, and summarised through narrative synthesis.
Fifteen randomised clinical trials (RCTs), reported across 23 articles, met inclusion criteria: seven group, four individual, and four low-intensity interventions. Overall, interventions improved distress (8/13 RCTs); coping (4/5 RCTs); and pain (4/5 RCTs). No evidence of survival benefit was found. For remaining outcomes, evidence was either insufficient, or too mixed to draw conclusions. Group programs had the strongest evidence-base for efficacy; individual and low-intensity therapy had insufficient evidence to form conclusions. Group interventions had longest intervention durations and lowest uptake and adherence; low-intensity interventions had shortest durations and highest uptake and adherence. Disparities in uptake, adherence and reach were evident, with the demographic profile of participants polarised to young, Caucasian, English-speaking, partnered women.
There remains a paucity of psychological interventions for women with MBC. Those that exist have an inconsistent evidence-base across the range of patient-reported outcomes. Further research is needed to evaluate accessible delivery formats that ensure efficacy as well as uptake.