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Are neurologic symptoms associated with worse QoL in non-CNS cancer patients?

BACKGROUND: The burden of having neurologic symptoms (NS) in cancer patients has scantly been studied; therefore, we performed a study whose purpose was to measure the impact of having clinically active (NS) on the quality of life (QoL) of non-primary CNS cancer patients.

METHODS: Patients with systemic cancer (non-primary CNS cancer) sent for neurological evaluation at a single cancer center (INCAN) were prospectively invited to respond the EORTC-QLQ-C30 and BN20 questionnaires. Associations of the questionnairés items were blindly measured for the following groups: NS+ or not (NS-) and having active cancer (AC+) or not (AC-).

RESULTS: Of 205 patients aged 55.4 ± 15.4 years, 122 (60%) had NS+ and 107 (52%) AC +. The NS+ group (compared with the NS-) showed a significant worse perception in the following scales/items of the EORTC QLQ-C30: physical functioning (median 86 vs. 92, P = 0.012), role functioning (66 vs. 100, P < 0.001), emotional functioning (75 vs. 83, P = 0.005), cognitive functioning (66 vs. 83, P < 0.001), fatigue (33 vs. 22, P < 0.001), nausea and vomiting (P = 0.021), pain (33 vs. 16, P < 0.001), insomnia (33 vs. 0, P = 0.011), appetite loss (P = 0.021), and global health (66 vs. 75, P = 0.001).

CONCLUSION: In patients with systemic (non-CNS) cancer, the QoL is significantly worse for patients with active neurologic symptoms.

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