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Monday 01 March 2004

Quality of life evaluations in patients with ovarian cancer during chemotherapy treatment.

By: Le T, Leis A, Pahwa P, Wright K, Ali K, Reeder B, Hopkins L, Fung MF.

Gynecol Oncol 2004 Mar;92(3):839-44

OBJECTIVES: To examine the impact of treatment- and disease-related factors on the quality of life of patients with ovarian cancers undergoing chemotherapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Over 18 months period, all patients with ovarian cancer receiving chemotherapy at the Saskatoon Cancer Center were recruited. The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Ovarian (FACT-O) questionnaire was used to assess patients' quality of life before each chemotherapy cycle. Platinum-based chemotherapy was used initially or in patients with a platinum-free interval of more than 6 months in a recurrence setting. After progression on the platinum-based regimens, liposomal doxorubicin, topotecan, and cisplatinum/etoposide were used as salvage chemotherapy pending on drug availability and convenience of administration to patients. Regression analysis was used to identify significant disease and treatment-related factors that can significantly affect patients' quality of life measures. RESULTS: Seventy-two patients participated in the study providing 270 separate observations. The mean age was 57.81 years with a standard deviation of 13.40. The median duration of chemotherapy-free interval for patients with recurrent disease was 7 months. All patients had stage 3 or 4 disease. About half (52.2%) of the patients had optimal surgical resection with small (<1 cm) residual cancer masses before primary adjuvant chemotherapy. Seventy percent of the patients had either a first diagnosis or a first recurrence of cancer with the other 30% previously treated with two or more chemotherapy regimens. Sixty-two percent had an initial complete response to platinum-based chemotherapy. Multivariate regression analysis showed the use of topotecan or cisplatinum/etoposide, patients' poor responses to chemotherapy, experience with two or more previous line of chemotherapy treatment, and younger ages were significant predictors of poor quality of life during chemotherapy. CONCLUSION: There were significant differences in side effects of commonly used chemotherapy regimens on patients' quality of life. Quality of life assessments should be routinely incorporated in selecting specific chemotherapy to be used. Future research should be carried out to identify the best strategies to further integrate the results of quality of life assessments in cancer treatment protocols and to examine the long-term effects of cancer and its treatment on patients and their families.

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