Project: Research project

Project Details


Clinical lore, case reports and a few prospective studies all have
provided data consistent with the hypothesis that there is an
extraordinarily high rate of depressive symptoms in patients with
pancreatic cancer. It is frequently stated that psychiatric morbidity
may in fact precede any of the other signs and symptoms of this
carcinoma. The goals of this study are: (1) to determine whether the
prevalence of major depression and other psychiatric disorders is, in
fact, increased in newly diagnosed cases of pancreatic cancer as compared
to patients with esophageal or gastric cancer; (2) to determine, using
well established biological markers of major depression [reduced density
of H-imipramine platelet binding sites, non-suppression of cortisol to
dexamethasone and increased cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of
corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and thyrotropin-releasing hormone
(TRH)], whether depressed patients with pancreatic cancer exhibit these
alterations when compared to groups of normal controls, patients with
major depression without cancer, patients with esophageal or gastric
cancer and patients with pancreatic cancer without depression; (3) to
determine, in view of recent studies suggesting that depressed patients
may have impaired immune function, whether the depressed cancer patients
we shall study exhibit alterations in immune function compared to
non-depressed patients; and (4) to determine whether pancreatic carcinoma
produces interleukin-1 and other lymphokines that may contribute to
depression and pituitary-adrenal hyperactivity. These studies, taken
together, will provide novel data concerning the prevalence and biology
of depression in patients with pancreatic cancer.
Effective start/end date9/30/918/31/95


  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health


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