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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2016 Apr 1;94(5):1088-98. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.12.363. Epub 2015 Dec 29.

Health-Related Quality of Life in Locally Advanced Cervical Cancer Patients After Definitive Chemoradiation Therapy Including Image Guided Adaptive Brachytherapy: An Analysis From the EMBRACE Study.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna and General Hospital of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:
Department of Radiation Oncology, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna and General Hospital of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Christian Doppler Laboratory for Medical Radiation Research for Radiation Oncology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Oncology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.
Department of Radiotherapy, Gustave-Roussy, Villejuif, France.
Department of Radiotherapy, Institute of Oncology Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Department of Radiation Oncology, National Center for Cancer Care and Research, Doha, Qatar.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India.
Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.
Leeds Cancer Centre, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, United Kingdom.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.



This study analyzed functioning and symptom scores for longitudinal quality of life (QoL) from patients with locally advanced cervical cancer who underwent definitive chemoradiation therapy with image guided adaptive brachytherapy in the EMBRACE study.


In total, 744 patients at a median follow-up of 21 months were included. QoL was prospectively assessed using European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life core module 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30) and EORTC cervical cancer module 24 (CX24) questionnaires at baseline, then every 3 months during the first year, every 6 months in the second and third years, and finally yearly thereafter in patients with no evidence of disease. Outcomes were evaluated over time and compared to those from an age-matched female reference population.


General QoL and emotional and social functioning were impaired at baseline but improved during the first 6 months after treatment, to reach a level comparable to that of the reference population, whereas cognitive functioning remained impaired. Both social and role functioning showed the lowest scores at baseline but which increased after treatment to reach a plateau at 6 months and then declined slightly at 3 and 4 years. The overall symptom experience was elevated at baseline and decreased to a level within the range of that of the reference population. Similarly, tumor-related symptoms (eg, pain, appetite loss, and constipation), which were present before treatment, decreased substantially at the first follow-up after treatment. Several treatment-related symptoms developed either immediately after and persisted over time (diarrhea, menopausal symptoms, peripheral neuropathy, and sexual functioning problems) or developed gradually after treatment (lymphedema and dyspnea).


This longitudinal prospective QoL analysis showed that patients' general QoL and functioning were impaired before treatment compared to those of reference data. Several tumor-related symptoms resolved after treatment, and functioning and general QoL returned to that of the level of the reference population, indicating a transient impact of diagnosis and treatment. However, several treatment-related symptoms and problems did develop and persist, either immediately or gradually after treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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