The effect of pre-transplant distress on immune reconstitution among adult autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation patients.

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Brain, behavior, and immunity (2012)

Keywords:

2012, Clinical Research Division, Public Health Sciences Division, September 2012

Abstract:

Myeloablative hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is a common treatment for hematological malignancy. Delayed immune reconstitution following HCT is a major impediment to recovery with patients being most vulnerable during the first month after transplant. HCT is a highly stressful process. Because psychological distress has been associated with down regulation of immune function we examined the effect of pre-transplant distress on white blood cell (WBC) count among 70 adult autologous HCT patients during the first 3weeks after transplant. The participants were on average 38years old; 93% Caucasian, non-Hispanic and 55% male. Pre-transplant distress was measured 2-14days before admission using the Cancer and Treatment Distress (CTXD) scale, and the Symptom Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R) anxiety and depression subscales. WBC count was measured during initial immune recovery on days 5 through 22 post-transplant. Linear mixed model regression analyses controlling for gender and treatment-related variables revealed a significant effect of the mean pre-transplant SCL Anxiety-Depression score on WBC recovery. We found no significant effect of pre-transplant CTXD on WBC recovery. In general, higher levels of pre-treatment anxiety and depression were associated with slower WBC recovery. Psychological modulation of WBC recovery during HCT suggests a unique mechanism by which psychological distress can exert influence over the immune system. Given that WBC recovery is essential to survival for HCT patients, these data provide a rationale for treating anxiety and depression in HCT patients.