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Suicide Risk Factors for Patients With AML and Other Leukemias

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Echoing the results of previous work on cancer and suicide in the United States, a team analyzing data on 142,386 patients with leukemia between 1975 and 2017 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database found that the patients’ suicide rate was about twice that of the general U.S. population: 26.41 versus 12.24 per 100,000 person‐years, yielding a standardized mortality rate of 2.16. Specific risk factors in the population of patients with leukemia included male sex, older age at diagnosis, the White race, and having acute myeloid leukemia (AML) versus other types of leukemia, wrote Jun Lyu, PhD, of the First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University, Guangzhou, China, and colleagues in Cancer Medicine. Conversely, “being a non‐Hispanic Black person was a protective factor” (vs. Hispanic; P = .019).

“Psychological factors such as depression are [also] especially important risk factors for suicide,” stressed Dr. Lyu and co-investigators. “To reduce suicide in leukemia patients, psychiatric evaluations [by health professionals] should be applied to this population.”

Outcomes of univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses showed hazard ratios of 4.41 for the suicide risk of male versus female patients with leukemia (P < .001); of 6.80 for White versus Black patients (P = .007); and of 1.59 and 2.72, respectively, for patients with AML versus those with lymphocytic leukemia (P = .016) or unspecified and other specified leukemias (P < .001). The hazard ratios were 2.60, 2.84, and 2.94, respectively, for comparisons involving older age at diagnosis versus patients 39 years or younger at diagnosis (60–69 years, 70–79 years, and ≥ 80 years; P <.001 for all).

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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