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Med Care. 2004 Feb;42(2):164-75.

Health-related quality of life among patients with breast cancer receiving zoledronic acid or pamidronate disodium for metastatic bone lesions.

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Center for Clinical and Genetic Economics, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, North Carolina 27715, USA.



Research on individual differences in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) can identify intervention targets and important covariates in analyses of treatment outcomes.


The objectives of this study were to describe HRQOL trajectories for women with metastatic breast cancer in a randomized trial of bisphosphonates and to identify characteristics associated with variations in HRQOL.


We conducted a prospective quality-of-life study within a randomized, controlled trial.


We studied women with metastatic breast cancer receiving zoledronic acid or pamidronate disodium to reduce the incidence of skeletal-related events (SREs).


HRQOL was measured at fixed time points during the trial. Individual growth-curve modeling was used to describe longitudinal trajectories and to identify predictors of trajectories.


For most domains of HRQOL, the mean trajectory reflected a mild increase, which leveled off later in the trial. Older age and full-time employment were associated with higher baseline HRQOL. Longer time from cancer diagnosis to randomization, lower Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) status (score of 2 ["inactive"]), and a history of SREs were associated with lower baseline HRQOL. Significant differences across geographic regions were observed for all domains. Active ECOG status (score of 0-1) at baseline was predictive of greater increases in all domains of HRQOL except Social/Family Well-Being. Age, geographic region, and time from first bone metastases to randomization were associated with longitudinal changes in some domains.


Women with metastatic breast cancer receiving bisphosphonates for prevention of SREs experienced an overall increase in HRQOL. Variations among women's experiences are explained partly by such characteristics as a history of SREs.

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