Background: The objective of the current study was to examine whether emotional well-being predicted survival in a large sample of patients with head and neck cancer who were participating in multicenter clinical trials.
Methods: Participants were enrolled in 2 Radiation Oncology Group (RTOG) clinical trials (RTOG 9003 and RTOG 9111) and completed a baseline measure of quality of life (the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General [FACT-G]), which included an Emotional Well-Being subscale. The outcome measure was overall survival. Main statistical analyses included overall survival rates, which were estimated by using the Kaplan-Meier method with univariate comparisons analyzed using the log-rank test. A multivariate Cox proportional hazards model was used to determine whether emotional well-being had prognostic impact on survival after accounting for tumor-related and sociodemographic variables. Additional exploratory analyses examined possible subgroup effects.
Results: No statistically significant univariate or multivariate effects were observed for emotional well-being, and there were no effects limited to subgroups. These results stand in sharp contrast to the prognostic value of a variety of demographic and clinical variables.
Conclusions: The current results add to the weight of the evidence that emotional functioning is not an independent predictor of survival in cancer patients. The study had the advantage of a large number of deaths to be explained in a sample with the uniformity of treatment and quality of care that is required in clinical trials.
Copyright (c) 2007 American Cancer Society.