Prospective longitudinal assessment of quality of life for liver cancer patients treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy

Jonathan Klein, Laura A. Dawson, Haiyan Jiang, John Kim, Rob Dinniwell, James Brierley, Rebecca Wong, Gina Lockwood, Jolie Ringash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Purpose To evaluate quality of life (QoL), an important outcome owing to poor long-term survival, after stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) to the liver. Methods and Materials Patients (n=222) with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver metastases, or intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and Child-Pugh A liver function received 24-60 Gy of 6-fraction image-guided SBRT. Prospective QoL assessment was completed with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core-30 (QLQ-C30) and/or Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Hepatobiliary (FACT-Hep, version 4) questionnaires at baseline and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after treatment. Ten HCC patients with Child-Pugh B liver function were also treated. Results The QLQ-C30 was available for 205 patients, and 196 completed the FACT-Hep. No difference in baseline QoL (P=.17) or overall survival (P=.088) was seen between the HCC, liver metastases, and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma patients. Appetite loss and fatigue measured by the QLQ-C30 clinically and statistically worsened by 1 month after treatment but recovered by 3 months. At 3 and 12 months after treatment, respectively, the FACT-Hep score had improved relative to baseline in 13%/19%, worsened in 36%/27%, and remained stable in 51%/54%. Using the QLQ-C30 Global Health score, QoL improved in 16%/23%, worsened in 34%/39%, and remained stable in 50%/38% at 3 and 12 months, respectively. Median survival was 17.0 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 12.3-19.8 months). Higher baseline scores on both FACT-Hep and QLQ-C30 Global Health were associated with improved survival. Hazard ratios for death, per 10-unit decrease in QoL, were 0.90 (95% CI 0.83-0.98; P=.001) and 0.88 (95% CI 0.82-0.95; P=.001), respectively. Tumor size was inversely correlated with survival. Conclusions Liver SBRT temporarily worsens appetite and fatigue, but not overall QoL. Stereotactic body radiation therapy is well tolerated and warrants comparison against other liver-directed therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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