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Quality of Life During and After Completion of Neoadjuvant Chemoradiotherapy for Esophageal and Junctional Cancer

B. J. Noordman MD, PhD, M. G. E. Verdam PhD, B. Onstenk MD, MSc, J. Heisterkamp MD, PhD, W. J. B. M. Jansen MSc, I. S. Martijnse MD, PhD, S. M. Lagarde MD, PhD, B. P. L. Wijnhoven MD, PhD, C. M. M. Acosta BSc, A. van der Gaast MD, PhD, M. A. G. Sprangers MD, PhD, J. J. B. van Lanschot MD, PhD
Thoracic Oncology
Volume 26, Issue 13 / December , 2019



The course of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) during and after completion of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) for esophageal or junctional carcinoma is unknown.


This study was a multicenter prospective cohort investigation. Patients with esophageal or cancer to be treated with nCRT plus esophagectomy were eligible for inclusion in the study. The HRQOL of the patients was measured with European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30, QLQ-OG25, and QLQ-CIPN20 questionnaires before and during nCRT, then 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 weeks after nCRT and before surgery. Predefined end points were based on the hypothesized impact of nCRT. The primary end points were physical functioning, odynophagia, and sensory symptoms. The secondary end points were global quality of life, fatigue, weight loss, and motor symptoms. Mixed modeling analysis was used to evaluate changes over time.


Of 106 eligible patients, 96 (91%) were included in the study. The rate of questionnaires returned ranged from 94% to 99% until week 12, then dropped to 78% in week 16 after nCRT. A negative impact of nCRT on all HRQOL end points was observed during the last cycle of nCRT (all p < 0.001) and 2 weeks after nCRT (all p < 0.001). Physical functioning, odynophagia, and sensory symptoms were restored to pretreatment levels respectively 8, 4, and 6 weeks after nCRT. The secondary end points were restored to baseline levels 4–6 weeks after nCRT. Odynophagia, fatigue, and weight loss improved after nCRT compared with baseline levels at respectively 6 (p < 0.001), 16 (p = 0.001), and 12 weeks (p < 0.001).


After completion of nCRT for esophageal cancer, HRQOL decreases significantly, but all HRQOL end points are restored to baseline levels within 8 weeks. Odynophagia, fatigue, and weight loss improved 6–16 weeks after nCRT compared with baseline levels.

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