AIM: Childhood cancer survivors are at risk of both somatic and mental late effects, but large population-based studies of depression are lacking. METHODS: Risk of antidepressant use was evaluated in a population-based cohort of 5452 Danish children treated for cancer in 1975-2009 by linkage to the National Prescription Drug Database, which worldwide is the oldest nationwide registry of prescription medication. Hazard ratios (HRs) for antidepressant use were estimated in a Cox proportional hazards model stratified on sex, with population comparisons as referents. RESULTS: Overall, childhood cancer survivors were at increased risk of having antidepressants prescribed (HR, 1.4; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.3-1.5). The excess absolute risk of antidepressant use was 2.5 per 1000 person-years (95% CI, 1.7-3.3), equivalent to an excess of 2.5 survivors for every 100 survivors followed for 10years. Increased HRs of 30-50% were seen for survivors of cancers of all main groups (haematological malignancies, central nervous system (CNS) and solid tumors); the highest risk was among children treated with haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.2-3.1). Our data suggested that the risk was most pronounced for children treated in the most recent calendar periods (test for interaction between cancer and calendar periods: P<0.001), especially for survivors of haematological cancers (P=0.007). Interaction analysis of the effect of parental socioeconomic position and psychiatric disease on the association between childhood cancer and antidepressant use indicated no modifying effect. CONCLUSION: Childhood cancer survivors should be followed-up for depression. Our results indicate an increasing need for follow-up especially in survivors treated by more recent, intensive anticancer treatment.
European Journal of Cancer (oxford, England : 1990), 2015, Vol 51, Issue 5, p. 675-84