Lung Cancer. 2008 Apr 21 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Ribi K, Bernhard J, Schuller JC, Weder W, Bodis S, Jörger M, Betticher D, Schmid RA, Stupp R, Ris HB, Stahel RA; for the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK).

Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK) Coordinating Center, Effingerstr. 40, CH-3008 Bern, Switzerland.


Background: In patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma undergoing a multimodality therapy, treatment toxicity may outweigh the benefit of progression-free survival. The subjective experience across different treatment phases is an important clinical outcome. This study compares a standard with an individual quality of life (QoL) measure used in a multi-center phase II trial.

Patients and methods: Sixty-one patients with stage I–III technically operable pleural mesothelioma were treated with preoperative chemotherapy, followed by pleuropneumonectomy and subsequent radiotherapy. QoL was assessed at baseline, at day 1 of cycle 3, and 1, 3 and 6 months post-surgery by using the Rotterdam Symptom Checklist (RSCL) and the Schedule for the Evaluation of Quality of Life-Direct Weighting (SEIQoL-DW), a measure that is based on five individually nominated and weighted QoL-domains.

Results: Completion rates were 98% (RSCL) and 92% (SEIQoL) at baseline and 98%/89% at cycle 3, respectively. Of the operated patients (N = 45) RSCL and SEIQoL were available from 86%/72%, 93%/74%, and 94%/76% at months 1, 3, and 6 post-surgery. Average assessment time for the SEIQoL was 24 min compared to 8 min needed for the RSCL. Median changes from baseline indicate that both RSCL QoL overall score and SEIQoL index remained stable during chemotherapy with a clinically significant deterioration (change ≥ 8 points) 1 month after surgery (median change of −66 and −14 for RSCL and SEIQoL, respectively). RSCL QoL overall scores improved thereafter, but remained beneath baseline level until 6 months after surgery. SEIQoL scores improved to baseline-level at month 3 after surgery, but worsened again at month 6. RSCL QoL overall score and SEIQoL index were moderately correlated at baseline (r = .30; p ≤ .05) and at 6-month follow-up (r = .42; p ≤ .05) but not at the other time points.

Conclusion: The SEIQoL assessment seems to be feasible within a phase II clinical trial, but may require more effort from staff. More distinctive QoL changes in accordance with clinical changes were measured with the RSCL. Our findings suggest that the two measures are not interchangeable: the RSCL is to favor when mainly information related to the course of disease- and treatment is of interest.

Keywords: Mesothelioma; Multimodal treatment; Individual quality of life; RSCL; SEIQoL-DW