Quality of life in patients with glioblastoma participating in a randomized study of boost brachytherapy

Joseph Bampoe Departments of Radiation Oncology and Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Hospital, and Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Normand Laperriere Departments of Radiation Oncology and Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Hospital, and Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Melania Pintilie Departments of Radiation Oncology and Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Hospital, and Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Jennifer Glen Departments of Radiation Oncology and Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Hospital, and Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Johann Micallef Departments of Radiation Oncology and Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Hospital, and Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Mark Bernstein Departments of Radiation Oncology and Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Hospital, and Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Object. Until recently the assessment of outcome in patients treated for glioma has emphasized length of survival with the evaluation of quality of life (QOL) limited to unidimensional, mostly physical, measures. The authors report the multidimensional assessment of QOL as part of a randomized clinical trial of brachytherapy as a boost in the initial treatment of patients with glioblastoma multiforme.

Methods. A questionnaire previously developed by the senior authors and psychometrically validated was completed by patients on randomized entry into the study and at follow-up review every 3 months thereafter. The questionnaire was presented in a linear-analog self-assessment format. Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) scores were also recorded on each occasion.

No differences were found between patients in either arm of the study (conventional radiation therapy consisting of 50 Gy in 25 fractions or conventional radiation plus a brachytherapy boost of a minimum peripheral tumor dose of 60 Gy) in KPS and QOL scores during the 1st year of follow-up review. However, there was a statistically significant deterioration in patients' overall KPS scores during the 1st year of follow up compared with baseline scores. Of QOL items evaluated, statistically significant deteriorations were found in self care, speech, and concentration, and on subscale analyses, cognitive functioning and physical experience (symptoms) deteriorated significantly during the 1st year of follow up, compared with baseline values. The correlation between QOL and KPS scores was low.

Conclusions. Future studies in patients harboring malignant gliomas must incorporate measures assessing QOL because traditional measures focusing on physical or neurological functioning give an incomplete assessment of the patient's experience.

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