Purpose: The modern treatment of pseudomyxoma peritonei is cytoreductive surgery plus intraperitoneal chemotherapy resulting in a survival of up to 70 percent after 20 years. The goal of this study was to investigate the impact on quality of life of this very aggressive treatment, which has not been done before.
Methods: Twenty-three prospective patients underwent cytoreductive surgery and early postoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy for pseudomyxoma peritonei. Patients were followed in clinic 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after surgery and had CT scan of the abdomen every 6 months. Quality of life was prospectively assessed with the generic quality of life instrument Short Form-36 Questionnaire, together with the two symptom-specific instruments--European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30, and Colorectal Cancer Module 38--before surgery and at every postoperative visit.
Results: Complete cytoreduction was achieved in 21 patients. No patients died within 30 days. Seventy percent of patients had one or more complications during or after surgery, but all had recovered. Fourteen percent had an asymptomatic recurrence detected within two years. The impact on quality of life of the disease and of its treatment was very modest despite the high morbidity after the treatment. There was a significant decrease in the scores on the Short Form-36 Questionnaire scales of physical dimension and role physical three months after surgery, only returning to normal after another three months. The other scores corresponded to the scores in a normal population.
Conclusions: Cytoreductive surgery plus early postoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy is an extensive treatment with a high morbidity but with relatively little impact on quality of life in patients with pseudomyxoma peritonei.