Quality of life in patients with brain tumor: what's relevant in our quest for therapeutic efficacy

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Quality-of-life assessments in neurooncology are becoming more relevant with the proliferation of intensive research into brain tumors and their therapy. In this review, the authors examined several aspects and problems associated with the past, present, and future applications of quality-of-life assessments in neurooncology.

The inadequacy of the almost exclusive use of physical functioning assessments, image-documented tumor response to therapy, and patient survival time as endpoints when evaluating therapeutic regimens is becoming increasingly apparent. In therapies in which outcome using traditional endpoints are only marginally different, specific (neurological) toxicity and social and psychological outcomes must be evaluated as well to determine valid treatment options. Also becoming widely accepted is the consideration of patient values of specific health states in justifying treatment resources. There is ongoing research in brain tumor patients to address these issues.

Quality-of-life assessments in neurooncology are becoming more relevant with the proliferation of intensive research into brain tumors and their therapy. In this review, the authors examined several aspects and problems associated with the past, present, and future applications of quality-of-life assessments in neurooncology.

The inadequacy of the almost exclusive use of physical functioning assessments, image-documented tumor response to therapy, and patient survival time as endpoints when evaluating therapeutic regimens is becoming increasingly apparent. In therapies in which outcome using traditional endpoints are only marginally different, specific (neurological) toxicity and social and psychological outcomes must be evaluated as well to determine valid treatment options. Also becoming widely accepted is the consideration of patient values of specific health states in justifying treatment resources. There is ongoing research in brain tumor patients to address these issues.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Mark Bernstein, M.D., The Toronto Hospital, Toronto Western Division, Suite 2-405, McLaughlin Pavilion, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada MST 2S8. email: mbernstein@torhosp.toronto.on.ca.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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