The effects of mindfulness-based interventions on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and cancer-related fatigue in oncology patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Author: Ellentika Chayadi1, Naomi Baes1, Litza Kiropoulos1
1 Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry, and Health Sciences, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
Conference/Journal: PLoS One
Date published: 2022 Jul 14
Other: Volume ID: 17 , Issue ID: 7 , Pages: e0269519 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0269519. , Word Count: 272

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are increasingly being integrated into oncological treatment to mitigate psychological distress and promote emotional and physical well-being. This review aims to provide the most recent evaluation of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery (MBCR) treatments, in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety and CRF in oncology populations.

A search using the following search terms was conducted: (mindful* OR mindfulness* OR mindfulness-based* OR MBI* OR MBCT OR MBSR OR MBCR) AND (Oncol* OR cancer OR neoplasm OR lymphoma OR carcinoma OR sarcoma) to obtain relevant publications from five databases: PsycINFO, PubMed, Embase, and MEDLINE by EC, and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global from January 2000 to February 2022. 36 independent studies (n = 1677) were evaluated for their overall effect sizes (using random-effects models), subgroup analyses, and quality appraisals. Evaluations were performed separately for non-randomized (K = 20, n = 784) and randomized controlled trials (K = 16, n = 893).

The results showed that MBIs have significant medium effects in reducing symptoms of depression (Hedges' g = 0.43), anxiety (Hedges' g = 0.55) and CRF (Hedges' g = 0.43), which were maintained at least three months post-intervention. MBIs were also superior in reducing symptoms of anxiety (Hedges' g = 0.56), depression (Hedges' g = 0.43), and CRF (Hedges' g = 0.42) in oncology samples relative to control groups. The superiority of MBIs to control groups was also maintained at least three months post-intervention for anxiety and CRF symptoms, but not for depressive symptoms. The risk of bias of the included studies were low to moderate.

This review found that MBIs reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety and CRF in oncology populations.

Systematic review registration:
PROSPERO: International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews: CRD42020143286.

PMID: 35834503 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0269519