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J Psychosoc Oncol. 2007;25(3):19-42. doi: 10.1300/J077v25n03_02.

Preliminary results of an individually tailored psychosocial intervention for patients with advanced hepatobiliary carcinoma.

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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Starzl Transplantation Institute, Liver Cancer Center, 3459 Fifth Avenue, Montefiore S., Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



A plethora of research now exists documenting the benefits of psychosocial interventions for cancer patients; however, no studies have been conducted with people diagnosed with hepatobiliary carcinoma.


A total of 28 patients agreed to participate in the study in which 14 patients were randomized to the intervention arm of the study and 14 patients to an attention-standard of care arm. Evaluation of the benefits of the intervention was performed using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Hepatobiliary (FACT-Hep), the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression, the State Trait Anxiety Index (STAI) to assess anxiety, peripheral blood leukocytes to measure immune system modulation, and survival.


Results indicate that patients who were randomly assigned to the intervention arm of the study reported clinically, but not statistically, significant improvements on symptoms of depression and anxiety, disease-related symptoms and treatment side effects, health-related quality of life (HRQL), and modest improvements in peripheral blood leukocytes and survival when compared with the standard of care group.


The findings of this study suggest that the individually tailored intervention was feasible and preliminary data suggested that the intervention may improve patients' HRQL, mood, and had modest improvements in immune system functioning and survival. Further research is needed with a larger sample size to test the statistical significance and generalizability of the individually tailored intervention.

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