Association Between Physician and Patient Reported Symptoms in Patients Treated with Definitive Radiotherapy for Locally Advanced Lung Cancer in a Statewide Consortium

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International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics


INTRODUCTION: Little data have been reported about the patient experience during curative radiotherapy for lung cancer in routine clinical practice, or how this relates to treatment toxicity reported by clinicians. The purpose of this study was to compare clinician-reported adverse events (AEs) with patient-reported outcomes (PROs) including both specific symptoms/side effects as well as overall quality of life (QOL) during and after definitive radiotherapy (RT) for locally advanced lung cancer (LALC) in a large statewide cohort.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) were prospectively collected from patients treated with definitive radiotherapy for LALC at 24 institutions within the XXXX Radiation Oncology Quality Consortium between 2012-2018 using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Trial Outcome Index (FACT-TOI). Physicians prospectively recorded adverse events (AEs) using CTCAE version 4.0. Patient-reported quality of life (QOL) changes from baseline were assessed during and after radiotherapy using the FACT-TOI. Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated for AEs and similar PROs, and multivariable analysis was used to assess associations with QOL.

RESULTS: 1361 patients were included and 53% of respondents reported clinically meaningful declines in QOL at the end of RT. Correlation between clinician-reported esophagitis and patient-reported trouble swallowing was moderate (R=0.67) while correlations between clinician-reported pneumonitis and patient-reported shortness of breath (R=0.13) and cough (R=0.09) were weak. Clinician-reported AEs were significantly associated with clinically meaningful declines inpatient-reported QOL, with R=-0.46 for a summary AE-score. QOL was more strongly associated with fatigue (R=-0.41) than lung-specific AEs.

CONCLUSIONS: AEs are associated with clinically meaningful declines in QOL during and after RT for LALC, but associations between AEs and QOL are only modest. This highlights the importance of PRO data, and future research should assess whether earlier detection of PRO changes could allow for interventions that reduce the frequency of treatment-related clinically meaningful declines in QOL.

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ePub ahead of print