Eighty-eight distressed breast cancer survivors with a diagnosis of stage I to III cancer, who had completed treatment at least 3 months prior, participated. Using analyses of covariance on a per-protocol sample, there were no differences noted between the MBCR and SET groups with regard to the telomere/single-copy gene ratio, but a trend effect was observed between the combined intervention groups and the controls (F [1,84], 3.82; P = .054; η2 = .043). TL in the intervention group was maintained whereas it was found to decrease for control participants. There were no associations noted between changes in TL and changes in mood or stress scores over time.
The investigators conclude that psychosocial interventions providing stress reduction and emotional support result in trends toward maintenance of telomere length in distressed breast cancer survivors, compared with decreases in TL found with usual care.
Citation: Carlson LE1, Beattie TL, Giese-Davis J, Faris P, Tamagawa R, Fick LJ, Degelman ES, Speca M. Mindfulness-based cancer recovery and supportive-expressive therapy maintain telomere length relative to controls in distressed breast cancer survivors. Cancer. 2014 Nov 3. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29063. [Epub ahead of print]