Vol 27, No 1 (2022)
Research paper
Published online: 2021-12-10

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Palliative radiotherapy and quality of life in patients with locally advanced thoracic esophageal cancer: a single centre experience from Central India

Kamal Bandhate1, Ashok Diwan1
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2022;27(1):104-112.


Background: Patients with locally advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (LAESCC) have decreased quality of life (QoL) and, thus, require palliative external beam radiotherapy (EBRT). The present study was performed to evaluate the QoL in patients with LAESCC undergoing palliative EBRT.

Materials and methods: This was a prospective, observational study performed over a period of 18 months (from December 2018 to May 2020) in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Seventy patients with LAESCC received EBRT (30 Gy in 10 fractions, at 3 Gy per fraction over 2 weeks). Patients were followed-up at monthly intervals for 3 months. The dysphagia and odynophagia scores were calculated at baseline and follow-up visits. The QoL was assessed with 18-item EORTC QLQ-OES questionnaire at baseline and 3 months.

Results: Over the study period, significant decrease in mean dysphagia and odynophagia score was observed (p-value < 0.0001). On post-hoc analysis, significant decrease in both dysphagia and odynophagia score was observed between baseline and at the end of study and between various follow-up visits (p-value < 0.0001). Moreover, there was a significant increase in mean body weight (p-value < 0.0001). At 3 months, there was a significant decrease in dysphagia (p-value < 0.0001), eating (p-value < 0.0001), reflux (p-value = 0.005), pain (p-value < 0.0001), and saliva (p-value = 0.01) domains of EORTC QLQ-OES18 questionnaire.

Conclusion: In patients with LAESCC, EBRT leads to significant decrease in dysphagia and odynophagia, and increase in body weight. These changes indirectly lead to improved QoL.

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