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Music therapy effectiveness by duration in patients with cancer: a meta-regression
  1. Ronald Chow1,2,
  2. Robert Bergner3 and
  3. Elizabeth Prsic2,4
  1. 1 Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  2. 2 Yale New Haven Hospital, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  3. 3 Volunteer Services, Yale New Haven Hospital, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  4. 4 Department of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth Prsic, Department of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 208028, USA; elizabeth.prsic{at}


Objectives Several reviews and meta-analyses have reported on music therapy for physical and emotional well-being among patients with cancer. However, the duration of music therapy offered may range from less than 1 hour to several hours. The aim of this study is to assess whether longer duration of music therapy is associated with different levels of improvement in physical and mental well-being.

Methods Ten studies were included in this paper, reporting on the endpoints of quality of life and pain. A meta-regression, using an inverse-variance model, was performed to assess the impact of total music therapy time. A sensitivity analysis was conducted for the outcome of pain, among low risk of bias trials.

Results Our meta-regression found a trend for positive association between greater total music therapy time and improved better pain control, but it was not statistically significant.

Conclusion There is a need for more high-quality studies examining music therapy for patients with cancer, with a focus on total music therapy time and patient-related outcomes including quality of life and pain.

  • cancer
  • pain
  • quality of life

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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