Caregiver mastery appears to be associated with overall survival among patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme, according to a study published in the journal Cancer.1

Patients with glioblastoma multiforme typically have a poor prognosis and often rely heavily on family caregivers for both emotional and physical support. Therefore, the capability and mental health of family caregivers may affect their ability to provide care and impact patient outcomes.

To examine whether caregivers’ anxiety, depressive symptoms, burden, and mastery influenced survival in patients with new diagnoses of this deadly form of brain cancer, researchers analyzed data from 88 pairs of caregivers and patients participating in a longitudinal study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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The study showed that median overall survival among patients was 14.5 months, with survival ranging from 0 to 88 months.

After controlling for confounding factors, researchers found that caregiver mastery was independently associated with patient survival. Specifically, each unit increase in mastery was associated with a 16.1% reduction in the risk of patient death (95% CI, 0.771-0.913; P <.001).

Further studies are needed to validate these findings. If these results are supported in future studies, it may be important to provide neuro-oncology caregivers with more structured support and guidance with the ultimate goal of improving patients’ well-being and outcomes.


1. Boele FW, Given CW, Given BA, et al. Family caregivers’ level of mastery predicts survival of patients with glioblastoma: a preliminary report. Cancer. 2016 Oct 27. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30428. [Epub ahead of print]