Link seen between emotional quality of life and survival in esophageal cancer

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Last Updated: 2001-07-24 13:43:31 EDT (Reuters Health)

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – There appears to be an association between quality of life (QL) scores, including emotional function, and survival in patients being treated for esophageal cancer, results of a recent study suggest.

Dr. J. M. Blazeby, of Bristol Royal Infirmary, UK, and colleagues prospectively studied 92 consecutive new patients with esophageal cancer between 1993 and 1995. Eighty-nine patients were included in the final analysis.

All patients completed the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer core questionnaire and the dysphagia scale of the esophageal module 1 to 2 weeks before treatment and at regular intervals throughout the study.

"Cox's proportional hazards models, adjusting for age, and T, N, and M stage, found that better physical function score was significantly associated with longer survival, and worse fatigue was significantly associated with shorter survival," the team reports in the August issue of Gut.

Also, after adjusting for established prognostic factors, multivariate analyses suggested that an improvement in emotional function 6 months after treatment for esophageal cancer was significantly associated with longer survival.

"It is currently not known whether psychological response to cancer influences survival," the authors say. "Emotional function may be a surrogate marker of a presently unrecognized biological indicator of poor outcome."

"Whether associations between QL scores and survival are clinically useful will only be demonstrated if deliberate interventions aimed at improving QL are shown to enhance survival," Dr. Blazeby and colleagues conclude.

Gut 2001;49:227-230.

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