Persistence of Late Substantial Patient-Reported Symptoms (LAPERS) After Radiochemotherapy Including Image Guided Adaptive Brachytherapy for Locally Advanced Cervical Cancer: A Report From the EMBRACE Study
This report describes the persistence of late substantial treatment-related patient-reported symptoms (LAPERS) in the multi-institutional EMBRACE study on magnetic resonance image guided adaptive brachytherapy in locally advanced cervical cancer (LACC).
METHODS AND MATERIALS
Patient-reported symptoms (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer [EORTC]-C30/CX24) and physician-assessed morbidity (Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events [CTCAE], version 3.0) were assessed at baseline and regular timepoints during follow-up. Patients with sufficient EORTC follow-up (baseline and ≥3 late follow-up visits) were analyzed. LAPERS events were defined as the presence of substantial EORTC symptoms (quite a bit/very much) for at least half of the assessments (persistence) and progression beyond baseline condition (treatment-related). For each EORTC symptom, the ratio between LAPERS rates and crude incidence rates of substantial symptoms was calculated to represent the proportion of symptomatic patients with persisting symptoms. For 9 symptoms with a corresponding EORTC/CTCAE assessment, the overlap of LAPERS and severe morbidity events (grades 3-5) was evaluated.
Of 1047 patients with EORTC available, 741 had sufficient follow-up for the LAPERS analyses. The median follow-up was 59 months (interquartile range, 42-70 months). Across all symptoms, the proportion of patients with LAPERS events (LAPERS rates) was in median 4.6% (range, 0.0% vaginal bleeding to 20.4% tiredness). Urinary frequency, neuropathy, fatigue, insomnia, and menopausal symptoms revealed LAPERS rates of >10%. Vomiting, blood in stool, urinary pain/burning, and abnormal vaginal bleeding displayed LAPERS rates of <1%. A median of 19% of symptomatic patients (interquartile range, 8.0%-28.5%) showed persistent long-term symptoms (LAPERS events). In symptoms with a corresponding EORTC/CTCAE assessment, 12% of LAPERS events were accompanied by a severe CTCAE event.
Within this large cohort of survivors of LACC, a subgroup of patients with persistent symptoms (LAPERS events) was identified. For symptoms with a corresponding EORTC/CTCAE assessment, the vast majority of LAPERS events occurred in patients without corresponding severe physician-assessed morbidity. These findings emphasize the importance of distinguishing between transient and persisting symptoms in the aftercare of LACC survivors.