To What Extent Does Radiotherapy Improve the Quality of Life of Patients With Bone Metastasis?: A Prospective, Single-Institutional Study

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Abstract

Purpose/Objectives:

Radiation therapy (RT) is an effective method of palliating painful bone metastases and improves the quality of life (QoL) of these patients. The purpose of this trial is 2-fold: to quantify the impact of RT in the QoL of patients with bone metastasis and to compare the QoL results between the most used schemes of RT at our Centre.

Materials and Methods:

A consecutive sample of patients with bone metastasis treated with RT in the Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra, Spain, was addressed between January 2011 and November 2012. The QoL was measured with the Quality of Life Questionnaire-C15-Palliative questionnaire, a short version of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer-Quality of Life Questionnaire-C30 for palliative care. Two assessments were proposed for each patient: one on the first day of the treatment and the other one a month after the end of the radiotherapy sessions. One hundred and sixteen patients completed the first questionnaire and 75 completed the second one (65%).

Results:

Significant differences appeared in 9 domains, with better QoL in the second assessment. Five areas (physical functioning, global, fatigue, nausea, dyspnea, and constipation) showed little change (between 5 and 9 points), 3 (emotional functioning, insomnia, and appetite loss) showed moderate change (10 to 20 points), and 1 (pain) showed a very positive change (>30 points).

Results:

When we compare the QoL scores between the 2 most used schemes of RT (30 Gy/10 fractions vs. 20 Gy/4 to 5 fractions), there are no significant differences in any QoL areas (and in 2 areas P was near 0.05).

Conclusions:

Palliative RT is a very active treatment for patients with bone metastasis regardless of age, location, primary tumor, or RT scheme. RT significantly improves the QoL, fundamentally by controlling pain and reducing analgesic use. Shorter schemes of RT produce at least—if not better—the same effect on QL than longer schemes (30 Gy).

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