Impacting quality of life for patients with advanced cancer with a structured multidisciplinary intervention: A randomized controlled trial

Teresa A. Rummans, Matthew M. Clark, Jeff A. Sloan, Marlene H. Frost, John Michael Bostwick, Pamela J. Atherton, Mary E. Johnson, Gail Gamble, Jarrett Richardson, Paul Brown, James Martensen, Janis Miller, Katherine Piderman, Mashele Huschka, Jean Girardi, Jean Hanson

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232 Scopus citations


Purpose: The primary goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a structured, multidisciplinary intervention targeted to maintain the overall quality of life (QOL), which is more comprehensive than psychosocial distress, of patients undergoing radiation therapy for advanced-stage cancer. Patients and Methods: Radiation therapy patients with advanced cancer and an estimated 5-year survival rate of 0% to 50% were randomly assigned to either an eight-session structured multidisciplinary intervention arm or a standard care arm. The eight 90-minute sessions addressed the five domains of QOL including cognitive, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social functioning. The primary end point of maintaining overall QOL was assessed by a single-item linear analog scale (Linear Analog Scale of Assessment or modified Spitzer Uniscale). QOL was assessed at baseline, week 4 (end of multidisciplinary intervention), week 8, and week 27. Results: Of the 103 participants, overall QOL at week 4 was maintained by the patients in the intervention (n = 49), whereas QOL at week 4 significantly decreased for patients in the control group (n = 54). This change reflected a 3-point increase from baseline in the intervention group and a 9-point decrease from baseline in the control group (P = .009). Intervention participants maintained their QOL, and controls gradually returned to baseline by the end of the 6-month follow-up period. Conclusion: Although intervention participants maintained and actually improved their QOL during radiation therapy, control participants experienced a significant decrease in their QOL. Thus, a structured multidisciplinary intervention can help maintain or even improve QOL in patients with advanced cancer who are undergoing cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-642
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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