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18-04-2010 | Gastroenterology | Article

Early dyspnea problems linked to survival in esophagogastric cancer


Free abstract

MedWire News: Esophagogastric cancer patients with few dyspnea associated problems prior to treatment have longer survival time than those with more dyspnea problems, report researchers.

In addition, better recovery of physical function after treatment improves survival time for these individuals.

“There is growing evidence to suggest that baseline measures of self-reported health predict survival in patients with cancer even after adjusting for known prognostic clinical variables,” write Jane Blazeby (University of Bristol, UK) and team.

“These findings may mean that some aspects of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) are prognostic (ie, measurement at the time of diagnosis and treatment correlates with survival independent of the treatment).”

Blazeby and colleagues recruited 216 patients with esophagogastric cancer to take part in the study. Of these, 169 completed treatment and survived for 6 months or more. Overall, 132 patients had two complete HRQoL assessments.

Writing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the researchers report that following adjustment for age, gender, performance status, tumor stage, and disease site, a 10-point poorer dyspnea score at baseline was significantly associated with an 18% higher risk for death within 6 months.

Following treatment, a 10-point improvement in physical function was associated with a 15% reduction in risk for death before 6 months. Conversely, a 10-point increase in problems with pain and fatigue was associated with a 20% and 16% increased risk for death before 6 months, respectively.

“If these results are confirmed by other studies, then the findings may be used in clinical practice to direct additional investigations for recurrent disease,” say the authors.

They conclude: “This may inform subsequent planning of follow-up observations, supportive care, and adjuvant or palliative treatments.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert