Psychosocial factors predicting survival after allogeneic stem cell transplant Academic Article uri icon


  • A primary aim was to assess the relative contribution of psychological factors, such as anxiety, depression and mental adjustment to cancer, to overall survival outcomes at a median follow-up of 2 years following allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). A secondary aim was to ascertain if demographic, medical and psychosocial factors assessed prior to transplantation were predictors of survival for patients after accounting for post-transplant events.Between 2005 and 2011, 130 allograft patients completed the Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale and Brief Symptom Inventory-18 as part of routine psychological assessment before undergoing transplantation. Survival status data were obtained, and predictors of survival status assessed and analysed using Cox-regression models.Thirteen percent experienced clinical levels of distress pre-transplant. None of the psychological factors predicted post-HSCT survival. In contrast, hierarchical multivariate analysis indicated that post-transplant factors (acute graft-versus-host disease and relapse post-transplant) predicted survival (Chi-square change, p < 0.001). The addition of a series of pre-transplant psychosocial and medical variables further improved the prediction of survival (Chi-square change, p = 0.01). In particular, relationship status (being single) (p = 0.04) and increased somatic symptoms (p = 0.02) pre-transplant were associated with shorter survival. Both variables were not associated with medical factors but were related to increased severity of anxiety and depressive symptoms as well as greater use of helpless-hopelessness and reduced fighting spirit adjustment response.Despite the significant influence of acute post-transplant factors in predicting survival following allogeneic HSCT, multidisciplinary pre-transplant assessments are important in identifying patients who are likely to experience poorer survival outcomes.


publication date

  • 2014