Current presence of pain was independently associated with both greater depression and fatigue in survivors of allogeneic and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), a study published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer has shown.1

Although patients treated with HSCT often experience depression and fatigue, studies to assess the risk factors have been inconclusive due to lack of statistical power. Therefore, researchers sought to examine sociodemographic and clinical risk factors for depression and fatigue in a large cohort of HSCT survivors.

Investigators measured depression and fatigue using data from an annual survey of 1869 HSCT recipients that also included self-reported sociodemographic characteristics and health information. Researchers obtained the participants’ clinical characteristics from a clinical database.

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Results showed that 13% of participants reported moderate to severe depression, while 42% reported moderate to severe fatigue.

Researchers found that among allogeneic HSCT recipients, female sex, younger age, current presence of chronic pain, and current patient-reported severity of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) were independently associated with greater depression, while female sex, current presence of chronic pain, and current severity of chronic GVHD were associated with greater fatigue (P<.01).

Furthermore, younger age and current presence of chronic pain were independently associated with both greater depression and greater fatigue among recipients of autologous HSCT (P<.01).

“Rates of depression and fatigue in this group of survivors suggest a high symptom burden,” the authors conclude. “Better screening, referral, and interventions are needed.”


1. Jim HS, Sutton SK, Jacobsen PB, et al. Risk factors for depression and fatigue among survivors of hematopoietic cell transplantation [published online ahead of print January 27, 2016]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.29877.