Association of persistent morbidity after radiotherapy with quality of life in locally advanced cervical cancer survivors

Sofia Spampinato*, Kari Tanderup, Jacob C. Lindegaard, Maximilian P. Schmid, Alina Sturdza, Barbara Segedin, Ina M. Jürgenliemk-Schulz, Astrid de Leeuw, Kjersti Bruheim, Umesh Mahantshetty, Cyrus Chargari, Bhavana Rai, Rachel Cooper, Elzbieta van der Steen-Banasik, Marit Sundset, Ericka Wiebe, Elena Villafranca, Erik van Limbergen, Bradley R. Pieters, Li Tee TanLudy C. H. W. Lutgens, Peter Hoskin, Stéphanie Smet, Richard Pötter, Remi Nout, Supriya Chopra, Kathrin Kirchheiner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: To quantify the association of persistent morbidity with different aspects of quality of life (QOL) in locally advanced cervical cancer (LACC) survivors. Material and methods: Longitudinal outcome from the EMBRACE-I study was evaluated. Patient-reported symptoms and QOL were prospectively scored (EORTC-C30/CX24) at baseline and regular follow-ups. Physician-assessed symptoms were also reported (CTCAEv.3). Persistent symptoms were defined if present in at least half of the follow-ups. QOL items were linearly transformed into a continuous scale. Linear mixed-effects models (LMM) were applied to evaluate and quantify the association of persistent symptoms with QOL. Overall QOL deterioration was evaluated by calculating the integral difference in QOL over time obtained with LMM for patients without and with persistent symptoms. Results: Out of 1416 patients enrolled, 741 with baseline and ≥ 3 late follow-ups were analyzed (median 59 months). Proportions of persistent EORTC symptoms ranged from 21.8 % to 64.9 % (bowel control and tiredness). For CTCAE the range was 11.3–28.6 % (limb edema and fatigue). Presence of any persistent symptom was associated with QOL, although with varying magnitude. Role functioning and Global health/QOL were the most impaired aspects. Fatigue and pain showed large differences, with reductions of around 20 % for most of the QOL aspects. Among organ-related symptoms, abdominal cramps showed the largest effect. Conclusion: Persistent symptoms are associated with QOL reductions in LACC survivors. Organ-related symptoms showed smaller differences than general symptoms such as fatigue and pain. In addition to optimizing treatment to minimize organ-related morbidity, effort should be directed towards a more comprehensive and targeted morbidity management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109501
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

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