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J Clin Oncol. 2006 Feb 1;24(4):635-42.

Impacting quality of life for patients with advanced cancer with a structured multidisciplinary intervention: a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, and Medical Social Services, Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN 55905, USA.



The primary goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a structured, multidisciplinary intervention targeted to maintain the overall quality of life (QOL), which is more comprehensive than psychosocial distress, of patients undergoing radiation therapy for advanced-stage cancer.


Radiation therapy patients with advanced cancer and an estimated 5-year survival rate of 0% to 50% were randomly assigned to either an eight-session structured multidisciplinary intervention arm or a standard care arm. The eight 90-minute sessions addressed the five domains of QOL including cognitive, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social functioning. The primary end point of maintaining overall QOL was assessed by a single-item linear analog scale (Linear Analog Scale of Assessment or modified Spitzer Uniscale). QOL was assessed at baseline, week 4 (end of multidisciplinary intervention), week 8, and week 27.


Of the 103 participants, overall QOL at week 4 was maintained by the patients in the intervention (n = 49), whereas QOL at week 4 significantly decreased for patients in the control group (n = 54). This change reflected a 3-point increase from baseline in the intervention group and a 9-point decrease from baseline in the control group (P = .009). Intervention participants maintained their QOL, and controls gradually returned to baseline by the end of the 6-month follow-up period.


Although intervention participants maintained and actually improved their QOL during radiation therapy, control participants experienced a significant decrease in their QOL. Thus, a structured multidisciplinary intervention can help maintain or even improve QOL in patients with advanced cancer who are undergoing cancer treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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