Risk Factors of Suicidal Ideation in Patients With Brain Tumors

A past medical history of psychiatric disorders, worse perceived health status, and poor mental health were associated pre-operative suicidal ideation in patients with brain tumors, a study published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer has shown.1

Because suicidal ideation is an important complication in patients with cancer that should be managed promptly and adequately, researchers sought to determine the prevalence of suicidal ideation in patients with brain tumors admitted for elective surgery and identify risk factors associated with its presence.

For the study, researchers enrolled 211 patients with an average age of about 60 years who were scheduled for brain tumor surgery. Of those, 39% had meningioma, and 17% had high-grade glioma. More than two-thirds of patients were women. All participants were evaluated for suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, health-related quality of life, functional status, and psychiatric medical conditions and treatments.

Results showed that suicidal ideation was self-reported by 6% of patients, particularly among patients with meningioma. Researchers found that patients with suicidal ideation were more likely to have a past medical history of psychiatric disorders, have greater anxiety, and report a worse health-related quality of life with respect to both physical and mental health domains.

The study also demonstrated that worse perceived mental health status was independently associated with a higher risk for suicidal ideation.

“The perception of health status by a patient should be considered as an important determinant of poor mental health in [brain tumor] patients,” the authors concluded.


1. Pranckeviciene A, Tamasauskas S, Deltuva VP, et al. Suicidal ideation in patients undergoing brain tumor surgery: prevalence and risk factors [published online ahead of print February 11, 2016]. Supp Care Cancer. doi: 10.1007/s00520-016-3117-2.

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