Evaluation of the psychological and biological changes of patients diagnosed with benign and malignant breast tumors

Lan jun BAI, Qing LIU, Min WANG, T. Y. Wings LOO, Wing Yi Rebecca CHENG, W. C. Louis CHOW, N. B. Mary CHEUNG, Y. R. Kelly WEI, Y. S. Adrian YIP, L. Y. Elizabeth NG

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder developed by exposure to any incident or circumstance that results in psychological trauma. In this study we compared the psychological and physiological changes between patients with malignant and benign breast tumors. 
Methods: We selected 150 Chinese women with a breast mass, aged 20 to 45 years, from the Sichuan Academy of Medical Sciences & Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital between 2009 and 2011 for this study; 30 healthy participants were enrolled into the control group. All subjects were examined and had their tumor mass aspirated for diagnosis. Equal numbers of patients with benign and malignant tumors were recruited. Patients with malignant tumors presented with low grade, minimal tumor invasion and non-involved lymph nodes. Questionnaires regarding anxiety, depression and PTSD were conducted 2 hours before getting the diagnostic result and 1 month after the diagnosis. Serum levels of IL-6, TNF-α, cortisol and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein before and after diagnosis were investigated and compared. The number of occurrences of oral ulcerative mucositis was also recorded. 
Results: All patients experienced a certain degree of anxiety and their biomarkers were elevated compared with the normal reference range before the pathological report was disclosed. However, 1 month after the operation, the benign tumor group showed significantly lower levels of biomarkers and anxiety scores than patients with a malignant breast tumor. The results were consistent throughout 12 months of study.
Conclusion: Study subjects with a benign tumor returned to their normal condition after being diagnosed, while patients with a malignant tumor suffered from a certain degree of PTSD or depression. Copyright © 2012 Wichtig Editore.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-330
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Markers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


Breast Neoplasms
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Reference Values
Anxiety Disorders
C-Reactive Protein
Healthy Volunteers
Lymph Nodes
Control Groups


Bai, L.-j., Liu, Q., Wang, M., Loo, W. T. Y. Cheng, R. W. Y., Chow, L. W. C., et al. (2012). Evaluation of the psychological and biological changes of patients diagnosed with benign and malignant breast tumors. International Journal of Biological Markers, 27(4), 322-330.


  • Anxiety
  • Biological marker
  • Breast cancer
  • Depression
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Psychological changes