Depression symptoms, frequently diagnosed in older patients with cancer, impacts on oncological treatment feasibility. The Francophone Society of Geriatric Oncology (SOFOG) has initiated a systematic review on depression treatment in older patients with cancer, to advocate guidelines.
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We included randomized and non-randomized controlled trials, reviews and meta-analysis, retrospective and prospective cohort studies, qualitative studies, and guidelines published between January 2013 and December 2018 that involved depression with cancer in which the entire sample or a sub-group aged 65 and above. Efficacy and tolerance of depression treatment were examined, as a primary or secondary outcome, among articles published in French or English.
Of 3171 references, only seven studies met our eligibility criteria. This systematic review reveals a lack of evidence-based knowledge in this field, preventing from making any recommendations on drug and non-drug therapies. It has highlighted the need for multidisciplinary collaboration with the French and Francophone Society of Psycho-Oncology.
In clinical practice, we advise health professionals to use the screening process not as a result but rather as an opportunity to engage with the patient and also to question the need for antidepressants and non-drug therapies.