Psychiatric Disease Preceding Intracranial Tumor Diagnosis: Investigating the Association

Kathryn R. Tringale, Bayard R. Wilson, Brian Hirshman, Tianzan Zhou, David Folsom, Marc A. Norman, Igor Grant, Clark C. Chen, Bob S. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Here, we examine rates of intracranial tumor diagnoses in patients with and without comorbid psychiatric diagnoses to better understand how psychiatric disease may alter risk profiles for brain tumor diagnosis.

Methods: We used a longitudinal version of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) database, which includes all inpatient admissions in California from 1995 to 2010. We examined patients with confirmed hospital admissions from 1997 to 2004. Patients with an intracranial tumor or psychiatric diagnosis on their first hospital admission were excluded. The primary outcome of interest was the diagnosis of intracranial tumor on any subsequent hospitalization within 5 years. Risk of tumor diagnosis was determined via Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and comorbidity burden. Subset analyses were performed for various tumor types.

Results: The risk for diagnosis of an intracranial tumor within 5 years, as determined by the hazard ratio, was 1.61 (95% CI, 1.28-2.04) for bipolar, 1.59 (95% CI, 1.41-1.72) for anxious, and 1.34 (95% CI, 1.25-1.43) for depressed cohorts relative to controls. More specifically, the risk for diagnosis of a primary benign neoplasm was elevated in depressed patients, while the risk for diagnosis of a meningioma was elevated in depressed, anxious, and bipolar disorder patients.

Conclusions: Patients admitted with certain psychiatric diagnoses appear more likely to be readmitted within 5 years with specific types of intracranial tumor diagnoses. The association between certain psychiatric diagnoses and subsequent brain tumor diagnosis most likely reflects the long-held belief that slow-growing tumors may first present as psychiatric symptoms before being diagnosed. Primary care physicians should consider the possibility of an underlying intracranial tumor in patients with new psychiatric diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalThe primary care companion for CNS disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 15 2016


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