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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Quality of life in advanced prostate cancer: results of a randomized therapeutic trial.

  • Author(s): Moinpour, CM
  • Savage, MJ
  • Troxel, A
  • Lovato, LC
  • Eisenberger, M
  • Veith, RW
  • Higgins, B
  • Skeel, R
  • Yee, M
  • Blumenstein, BA
  • Crawford, ED
  • Meyskens, FL
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License

BACKGROUND: For patients with metastatic prostate cancer, treatment is primarily palliative, relying mainly on the suppression of systemic androgen hormone levels. To help document the achievement of palliation and to characterize positive and negative effects of treatment, we evaluated quality-of-life (QOL) parameters in patients with metastatic prostate cancer who were randomly assigned to two methods of androgen deprivation. METHODS: Patients (n = 739) with stage M1 (bone or soft tissue metastasis) prostate cancer were enrolled in a QOL protocol that was a companion to Southwest Oncology Group INT-0105, a randomized double-blind trial comparing treatment with bilateral orchiectomy (surgical castration) plus either flutamide or placebo. Patients completed a comprehensive battery of QOL questionnaires at random assignment to treatment and at 1, 3, and 6 months later. Data were collected on three treatment-specific symptoms (diarrhea, gas pain, and body image), on physical functioning, and on emotional functioning. All P values are two-sided. RESULTS: Questionnaire return rates for this study never dropped below 80%; only 2% of the patients did not submit baseline QOL assessments. Cross-sectional analyses (corrected for multiple testing) identified statistically significant differences that favored orchiectomy plus placebo for two of the five primary QOL parameters as follows: patients receiving flutamide reported more diarrhea at 3 months (P = .001) and worse emotional functioning at 3 and 6 months (both P<.003). Longitudinal analyses replicated these findings. Other analyzed QOL parameters favored the group receiving placebo but were not statistically significant after adjustment for multiple testing. CONCLUSIONS: We found a consistent pattern of better QOL outcomes at each follow-up assessment during the first 6 months of treatment for orchiectomized patients with metastatic prostate cancer who received placebo versus flutamide. Improvement over time was evident in both treatment groups but more so for patients receiving placebo.

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