Patient-reported symptoms before palliative radiotherapy predict survival differences

Widely used prognostic scores, e. g., for brain or bone metastases, are based on disease- and patient-related factors such as extent of metastases, age and performance status, which were available in the databases used to develop the scores. Few groups were able to include patient-reported symptoms. In our department, all patients were assessed with the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS, a one-sheet questionnaire addressing 11 major symptoms and wellbeing on a numeric scale of 0-10) at the time of treatment planning since 2012. Therefore, we analyzed the prognostic impact of baseline ESAS symptom severity.

Retrospective review of 102 patients treated with palliative radiotherapy (PRT) between 2012 and 2015. All ESAS items were dichotomized (below/above median). Uni- and multivariate analyses were performed to identify prognostic factors for survival.

The most common tumor types were prostate, breast and non-small cell lung cancer, predominantly with distant metastases. Median survival was 6 months. Multivariate analysis resulted in six significant prognostic factors. These were ESAS pain while not moving (median 3), ESAS appetite (median 5), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status, pleural effusion/metastases, intravenous antibiotics at start or within 2 weeks before PRT and no systemic cancer treatment.

Stronger pain while not moving and reduced appetite (below/above median) predicted significantly shorter survival. Development of new prognostic scores should include patient-reported symptoms and other innovative parameters because they were more important than primary tumor type, age and other traditional baseline parameters.

Strahlentherapie und Onkologie : Organ der Deutschen Rontgengesellschaft ... [et al]. 2018 Jan 17 [Epub ahead of print]

Carsten Nieder, Thomas A Kämpe, Adam Pawinski, Astrid Dalhaug

Department of Oncology and Palliative Medicine, Nordland Hospital Trust, 8092, Bodø, Norway. ., Department of Oncology and Palliative Medicine, Nordland Hospital Trust, 8092, Bodø, Norway.