Brain tumor revealed by treatment-resistant depression

December 22, 2015, British Medical Journal

A woman who was thought to have treatment-resistant depression was later found to have a tumour in her brain, according to an article published in BMJ Case Reports.

The 54-year-old woman had been depressed for 6 months, but treatment with the antidepressant fluoxetine and the anti-anxiety medication bromazepam was discontinued after 5 months because these were not found to be effective.

Her symptoms included apathy, difficulties with making decisions and initiating action, a lack of energy, sleep disorders, and concentration and attention problems.

She had suicidal thoughts, admitted self-accusation due to ineffectiveness in her job, and lost interest in her usual past times. She did not have a history of personal or familial mental illness, but experienced several .

A neurological examination was normal. However, a CT scan and MRI revealed meningiomatosis with a giant meningioma—the most common primary benign brain tumour—in her left frontal lobe.

This is an area known to have an important role in the development of depression for with tumours in the brain.

The patient underwent emergency surgery, and made a recovery. The disappeared within one month.

Psychiatric symptoms such as depression, mania, hallucinations, anxiety disorders and anorexia nervosa, even without any neurological signs, may be a sign of a brain tumour, write the doctors who treated the patient.

They say that certain patients should have a brain scan to identify or exclude the possibility of a tumour, but note that "it seems unrealistic to prescribe brain imaging in every patient with a depressive syndrome" because this mental disorder is common while are "remarkably rare" in patients with depression.

They recommend that it should be performed if the patient presents a late onset of depressive syndrome after 50 years of age, if a diagnosis of treatment-resistant depression is made or if the patient is apathetic.

Explore further: Certain antidepressants linked to heightened risk of mania and bipolar disorder

More information: Meningiomatosis revealed by a major depressive syndrome, BMJ Case Reports,

Related Stories

Certain antidepressants linked to heightened risk of mania and bipolar disorder

December 15, 2015
Taking certain antidepressants for depression is linked to a heightened risk of subsequent mania and bipolar disorder, reveals research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Brain tumor patients should be screened for depression

April 29, 2015
Because depression in brain cancer patients is a common but often overlooked condition, oncologists should regularly screen tumor patients for depression, according to an article in the current issue of CNS Oncology.

Depression too often reduced to a checklist of symptoms

October 23, 2015
How can you tell if someone is depressed? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) - the 'bible' of psychiatry - diagnoses depression when patients tick off a certain number of symptoms on the DSM checklist. ...

First mouse model of spontaneous depression-like episodes shows new candidate brain region

October 20, 2015
Scientists from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute have shown that a mouse strain with a mutation that leads to dysfunction of mitochondria—the "powerhouses" that provide energy to cells—spontaneously undergo periodic ...

High-fat diet may cause changes in the brain that lead to anxiety and depression

October 19, 2015
A new study in mice reveals that increased body weight and high blood sugar as a result of consuming a high-fat diet may cause anxiety and depressive symptoms and measurable changes in the brain.

Scientists discover how to better map brain tumors

November 3, 2015
Scientists have discovered a protein that helps map the edge of brain tumours more clearly so they show up on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, according to new research presented at the National Cancer Research Institute ...

Recommended for you

Metastatic lymph nodes can be the source of distant metastases in mouse models of cancer

March 22, 2018
A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators finds that, in mouse models, cancer cells from metastatic lymph nodes can escape into the circulation by invading nodal blood vessels, leading to the development ...

Researchers examine role of fluid flow in ovarian cancer progression

March 22, 2018
New research from Virginia Tech is moving physicians closer to pinpointing a predictor of ovarian cancer, which could lead to earlier diagnosis of what is know as the "silent killer."

Gene-based test for urine detects, monitors bladder cancer

March 22, 2018
Researchers at The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a test for urine, gathered during a routine procedure, to detect DNA mutations identified with urothelial cancers.

Could a pap test spot more than just cervical cancer?

March 22, 2018
Pap tests have helped drive down rates of cervical cancer, and a new study suggests they also could be used to detect other gynecologic cancers early.

Researchers identify compound to prevent breast cancer cells from activating in brain

March 22, 2018
Researchers at Houston Methodist used computer modeling to find an existing investigational drug compound for leukemia patients to treat triple negative breast cancer once it spreads to the brain.

Probing RNA epigenetics and chromatin structures to predict drug resistance in leukemia

March 22, 2018
Drug resistance is a major obstacle to effective treatment for patients with cancer and leukemia. Epigenetic modifying drugs have been proven effective for some patients with hematologic malignancies, such as myelodysplastic ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.