Proton therapy re-irradiation preserves health-related quality of life in large recurrent glioblastoma

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2020 Jun;146(6):1615-1622. doi: 10.1007/s00432-020-03187-w. Epub 2020 Mar 21.


Purpose: Proton therapy could minimize the risk of side effects and, therefore, reduce the possible detrimental effect on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of re-irradiation. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of re-irradiation with active scanning proton therapy on recurrent glioblastoma (GBM) in terms of HRQOL scored by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ)-C30 and EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire Brain Cancer Module (QLQ-BN20).

Methods: Thirty-three patients with recurrent GBM were re-irradiated with active scanning proton therapy. Subscales within the EORTC QLQ-C30 include five functional scales, six single-item scales, and global QoL. The BN20 assessed visual disorders, motor function, communication deficit, various disease symptoms, treatment, toxicity, and future uncertainty. The patients completed the questionnaires before starting proton therapy, the last day of proton therapy, and at every follow-up visit until progression of disease.

Results: The treatment was associated with improvement or stability in most of the preselected HRQOL domains. Global health improved over time with a maximum difference of six points between baseline and 3-months follow-up. Social functioning and motor dysfunction improved over time with a maximum difference of eight and two points, respectively. We showed a non-significant decrease in cognitive and emotional functioning. Fatigue remained stable during the analysis such as the other preselected domains.

Conclusions: Re-irradiation with proton therapy is a safe and effective treatment in patients with recurrent glioblastoma. Proton therapy does not negatively effect on HRQOL, but rather it seems to preserve HRQOL until the time of disease progression.

Keywords: Proton therapy; Quality of life; Re-irradiation; Recurrence glioblastoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proton Therapy*
  • Quality of Life*