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J Neurooncol. 2013 Jul;113(3):425-32. doi: 10.1007/s11060-013-1130-6. Epub 2013 Apr 27.

Suicide ideation in pediatric and adult survivors of childhood brain tumors.

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Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Survivors of pediatric brain tumors are at risk for long-term psychological morbidities. The current study investigated the prevalence and predictors of suicide ideation (SI) in a clinical sample of youth and adult survivors. Retrospective chart reviews were completed for 319 survivors of pediatric brain tumors who were assessed via clinical interview during routine neuro-oncology clinic visits between 2003 and 2007. Survivors were, on average, 18.0 years of age (SD = 4.9) and 10 years from diagnosis (SD = 5.0) at their most recent follow-up. The most common diagnosis was low-grade glioma (n = 162) followed by embryonal tumors (PNET/medulloblastoma; n = 64). Multivariable logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) for SI. Nearly 12 % of survivors (11.7 %, n = 37) reported SI. Five survivors (1.5 %) had documented suicide attempts, though none were fatal. In a multivariable model, adjusting for sex and age, history of depression (OR = 20.6, 95 % CI = 4.2-101.1), psychoactive medication treatment (OR = 4.5, 95 % CI = 1.8-11.2), observation or surgery only treatment (OR = 3.7, 95 % CI = 1.5-9.1), and seizures (OR = 3.6, 95 % CI = 1.1-11.1) were significantly associated with SI in survivors. Survivors of pediatric brain tumors appear to be at risk for experiencing SI. Our results underscore the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to providing follow-up care for childhood brain tumor survivors, including routine psychological screenings.

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