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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Long-term disease-specific and cognitive quality of life after intensity-modulated radiation therapy: a cross-sectional survey of nasopharyngeal carcinoma survivors

  • Author(s): Kiang, A
  • Weinberg, VK
  • Cheung, KHN
  • Shugard, E
  • Chen, J
  • Quivey, JM
  • Yom, SS
  • et al.

There is a lack of data on quality of life in long-term survivors of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) who have been treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). We characterized long-term disease-specific and cognitive QoL in NPC survivors after IMRT.We conducted a cross-sectional study of surviving patients diagnosed and treated for NPC at our center with curative-intent IMRT, with or without chemotherapy. Patients who were deceased, still undergoing treatment, with known recurrent disease, or treated with RT modality other than IMRT were excluded. QoL was measured by FACT-NP and FACT-Cog.Between May and November 2013, 44 patients completed cognitive (FACT-Cog), general (FACT-G), and NPC-specific (NPCS) QoL assessments. Patients were categorized into 4 cohorts based on duration since IMRT (≤2.5, >2.5-6, >6-10, and >10-16 years). There was no significant difference in age (p = 0.20) or stage ((I/II vs III/IV: p = 0.78) among the cohorts. The 4 cohorts differed overall for all QoL measures (ANOVA: p < 0.02 for each), due to improved scores >2.5-6 years post-IMRT compared with ≤2.5 years post-IMRT (post hoc tests: p ≤ 0.04 for each). No differences were observed between >2.5-6 and >6-10 years post-IMRT, but lower mean FACT-Cog and NPCS scores were observed for >10 years compared to >2.5-6 years post-IMRT (post hoc: p < 0.05 for each).All QoL measures were low during the initial recovery period (≤2.5 years) and were higher by 6 years post-IMRT. At >10 years post-IMRT, lower scores were observed in the domains of NPC-specific and cognitive QoL. Survivors of NPC, even if treated with IMRT, are at risk for detriment in domain-specific QoL measures at very long-term follow-up.

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