Predictors of remission in depression to individual and combined treatments (PReDICT): Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Boadie W. Dunlop, Elisabeth B. Binder, Joseph F. Cubells, Mark M. Goodman, Mary E. Kelley, Becky Kinkead, Michael Kutner, Charles B. Nemeroff, D. J. Newport, Michael J. Owens, Thaddeus W.W. Pace, James C. Ritchie, Vivianne A. Rivera, Drew Westen, W. E. Craighead, Helen S. Mayberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Background: Limited controlled data exist to guide treatment choices for clinicians caring for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Although many putative predictors of treatment response have been reported, most were identified through retrospective analyses of existing datasets and very few have been replicated in a manner that can impact clinical practice. One major confound in previous studies examining predictors of treatment response is the patient's treatment history, which may affect both the predictor of interest and treatment outcomes. Moreover, prior treatment history provides an important source of selection bias, thereby limiting generalizability. Consequently, we initiated a randomized clinical trial designed to identify factors that moderate response to three treatments for MDD among patients never treated previously for the condition.Methods/design: Treatment-naïve adults aged 18 to 65 years with moderate-to-severe, non-psychotic MDD are randomized equally to one of three 12-week treatment arms: (1) cognitive behavior therapy (CBT, 16 sessions); (2) duloxetine (30-60 mg/d); or (3) escitalopram (10-20 mg/d). Prior to randomization, patients undergo multiple assessments, including resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), immune markers, DNA and gene expression products, and dexamethasone-corticotropin-releasing hormone (Dex/CRH) testing. Prior to or shortly after randomization, patients also complete a comprehensive personality assessment. Repeat assessment of the biological measures (fMRI, immune markers, and gene expression products) occurs at an early time-point in treatment, and upon completion of 12-week treatment, when a second Dex/CRH test is also conducted. Patients remitting by the end of this acute treatment phase are then eligible to enter a 21-month follow-up phase, with quarterly visits to monitor for recurrence. Non-remitters are offered augmentation treatment for a second 12-week course of treatment, during which they receive a combination of CBT and antidepressant medication. Predictors of the primary outcome, remission, will be identified for overall and treatment-specific effects, and a statistical model incorporating multiple predictors will be developed to predict outcomes.Discussion: The PReDICT study's evaluation of biological, psychological, and clinical factors that may differentially impact treatment outcomes represents a sizeable step toward developing personalized treatments for MDD. Identified predictors should help guide the selection of initial treatments, and identify those patients most vulnerable to recurrence, who thus warrant maintenance or combination treatments to achieve and maintain wellness.Trial registration: Identifier: NCT00360399. Registered 02 AUG 2006. First patient randomized 09 FEB 2007.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106
StatePublished - 9 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Antidepressive agents
  • Clinical research protocol
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Depression
  • Genetic polymorphisms
  • HPA Axis
  • Inflammation
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Personality disorders
  • Personalized medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Predictors of remission in depression to individual and combined treatments (PReDICT): Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this