Background: Major depression is a well-documented risk factor for suicide i
n cancer patients as well as in the general population. However, there are
no data explaining why some cancer patients suffering from major depression
have suicidal ideation whereas others with the same disorder do not.
Methods: We investigated the background differences between cancer patients
suffering from major depression with and without suicidal ideation by anal
yzing consultation data on patients referred to the Psychiatry Division, Na
tional Cancer Center Hospital, Japan.
Results: Univariate analysis showed that poor performance status, advanced
stage and severe depression were the risk factors for suicidal ideation in
these depressive cancer patients. Multivariate logistic regression analysis
indicated that older age and severe depression are the final significant r
Conclusion: These preliminary findings suggest that severe major depression
may be an important indicator of suicidal ideation among cancer patients,
that patients' age should be given greater attention and that closer monito
ring and more intensive intervention against major depression may be needed