Background and purpose: To compare the course of symptoms and health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) after immediate thoracic radiotherapy (TRT) between symptomatic (S) and non-symptomatic (NS) patients with advanced NSCLC.
Patients and methods: 407 stage III/IV patients were initially treated with immediate TRT within a randomised phase III trial comparing different fractionation schedules. At inclusion, patients were prospectively stratified according to presence (S) or absence (NS) of tumour-related chest/airway symptoms to facilitate comparison between these groups. The EORTC QLQ-C30 and LC-13 were used for symptom and HRQOL assessments at baseline and at regular intervals up to 1 year (N = 395).
Results: NS patients had significantly more favourable baseline characteristics when compared to S patients with a median survival of 11.8 versus 6.0 months (P < 0.0001), respectively. At baseline, S patients demonstrated HRQOL scores inferior to those of NS patients (P < 0.01) for most scales. Until week 14, NS patients developed more symptoms while S patients experienced symptom relief in most scales. After week 14, no significant differences could be observed between the groups.
Conclusion: This study indicates that immediate TRT, given to patients with minimal/none chest symptoms, does not prevent development of disease-related symptoms and diminished HRQOL. A wait-and-see policy appears to be acceptable. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
- palliative radiotherapy
- lung cancer
- immediate treatment
- PALLIATIVE THORACIC RADIOTHERAPY
- QUESTIONNAIRE QLQ-C30
- ASYMPTOMATIC PATIENTS
- INOPERABLE CARCINOMA