Background: Esophagectomy has a negative influence on health-related quality of life (HRQL) during the first postoperative year, but it is not known how chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy treatment before surgery affects HRQL. The current study examined HRQL during preoperative chemotherapy/chemoradiotherapy treatment and compared postoperative recovery of HRQL in patients undergoing combined treatment with patients undergoing surgery alone.
Methods: One hundred three patients completed standardized HRQL measures before and during neoadjuvant treatment and before and after surgery. Mean HRQL scores were calculated and preoperative scores were used to model postoperative ratings using linear regression.
Results: Deterioration in most aspects of HRQL occurred during preoperative chemotherapy. Patients proceeding to concomitant radiotherapy further deteriorated with specific problems with reflux symptoms and role function (difference between means >15, P < 0.01). After neoadjuvant treatment, but before surgery, HRQL returned to baseline levels. Six weeks after surgery, patients reported marked reductions in physical, role, and social function (difference between means > 30, P < 0.01) and increase in fatigue, nausea and emesis, pain, dyspnea, appetite loss, and coughing (difference between means > 15, P < 0.01). Recovery of HRQL was not hampered by preoperative treatment, and fewer problems with postoperative nausea, emesis, and dysphagia were reported by patients who had undergone neoadjuvant treatment compared with patients who had undergone surgery alone.
Conclusions: Preoperative chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy had a negative impact on HRQL that was restored in patients proceeding to surgery. Recovery of HRQL after esophagectomy was not impaired by neoadjuvant treatment. These results supported the use of neoadjuvant treatment before surgery.
(c) 2005 American Cancer Society.