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J Clin Oncol. 2001 Apr 15;19(8):2123-33.

Prospective study on quality of life before and after radical radiotherapy in non-small-cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Radiotherapeutisch Instituut Limburg, Heerlen, The Netherlands.



The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in respiratory symptoms and quality of life (QoL) in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) receiving radical radiotherapy (60 Gy). Additionally, the association between the level of symptom relief and objective tumor response, as well as with radiation-induced pulmonary changes, was investigated.


One hundred sixty-four patients were entered onto this prospective study. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ)-C30 and EORTC QLQ-LC13 were used to investigate changes in QOL: Assessments were performed before radiotherapy and 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after the completion of radiotherapy.


The QoL response rates were excellent for hemoptysis (83%); good for chest pain (68%), arm/shoulder pain (63%), and appetite loss (60%); and poor for dyspnea (37%), cough (31%), and fatigue (28%). The QoL response rates for the five functioning scales of the QLQ-C30 varied from 35% for physical and role functioning to 55% for social and cognitive functioning. The response rate for global QoL was 36%. A significant association was found between tumor response and palliation of chest pain, arm/shoulder pain, and physical functioning. During radiotherapy, a significant increase for most general symptoms and a deterioration in functioning and QoL were noted.


This study is the first to describe palliation and changes in QoL in radically irradiated patients with NSCLC. Radical radiotherapy offers palliation of respiratory symptoms and improved QoL in a substantial proportion of patients with NSCLC who have relatively good prognostic features. Although tumor reduction is associated with palliation of respiratory symptoms, it cannot serve as a surrogate for palliation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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