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Folia Med (Plovdiv). 2006;48(2):23-9.

Assessment of the effect of palliative radiotherapy for cancer patients with intracranial metastases using EORTC-QOL-C30 questionnaire.

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Department of Radiotherapy with RID sector, Department of Social Medicine and Health Care Management, University Hospital "St.George", Medical University, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.


Assessment of quality of life (QOL) is of crucial importance when assigning palliative radiotherapy of brain metastases in cancer patients.


To investigate the influence of whole brain radiotherapy on brain symptoms in patients with cerebral metastases; to evaluate their quality of life before and after radiation therapy using the EORTC-QOL-C30 questionnaire, as well as its influence on patients' survival.


Sixty-five patients with various locations of the primary tumor and brain metastases were included in this study. All of them underwent radiotherapy with cobalt unit. The realized dose of the whole brain was above 30 Gy: 10 x 3 Gy or 15 x 2 Gy. The patients filled in the EORTC-QOL-C30 questionnaire before radiation, at the end of the radiotherapeutic course and a month after it. Clinical characteristics of patients before and after radiotherapy were compared and assessed. All patients were treated with radiotherapy and concurrent corticosteroid treatment.


The mean age of the patients was 53 +/- 7.8 years and the median survival was 6.6 months for lung cancer patients and 9.8 months for breast cancer patients. Each EORTC-QOL-C30 questionnaire assessed the patients in three main aspects: functional aspects, general symptoms and global health. Improvement was reported (p < 0.001) for functional indicators and health related quality of life (HRQOL). Several symptoms did not change significantly--financial difficulties, dyspnea and diarrhea.


Whole brain radiation of cancer patients with cerebral metastases is very well tolerated. Side effects are frequently met and can be compensated by applying steroids. The assessment of quality of life gives information on patients' improvement which is more substantial in functioning, symptoms and global health. This study is a precondition for future investigations of the effect of whole brain radiation on cancer patients' quality of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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