FACT-Br for assessment of quality of life in patients receiving treatment for brain metastases: a literature review

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Abstract

Introduction:

Brain metastases are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality for patients with advanced cancers, and quality-of-life (QoL) end points are most appropriate for this population. The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT) questionnaires are commonly used to assess cancer-related QoL issues. The FACT-Brain (FACT-Br) provides an additional set of disease-specific questions pertaining to brain neoplasms. We aim to provide a comprehensive review to examine the use of the FACT-Br as a QoL assessment for patients with brain metastases.

Materials & methods:

A review of the literature was conducted and all studies utilizing the FACT-Br for QoL assessment of patients with brain metastases were included. Study information and relevant information regarding the FACT-Br were extracted.

Results:

A total of 14 studies were identified representing various treatment options (radiation, chemotherapy and surgery) for patients with brain metastases. All studies utilized at least part of the FACT-Br as the main QoL assessment. In addition, neurocognitive and performance status assessments were performed in nine and 12 out of 14 studies, respectively. Issues of poor accrual, compliance and attrition were common and posed problems in reaching statistically significant changes in QoL despite changes in raw QoL scores.

Conclusion:

Studies involving patients with brain metastases should continue to utilize QoL tools such as the FACT-Br; however, this tool still requires validation for use in this patient population. Additional studies should observe the relationship between neurocognitive function and QoL, and attempt to minimize poor accrual and compliance issues through modifications of trial design and reduction of patient burden.

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