Quality of life, symptoms and care needs in patients with persistent or recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian cancer: An NRG Oncology/Gynecologic Oncology Group study


      • In recurrent ovarian cancer, the most common unmet need is in the symptom dimension.
      • The most common symptom is fatigue.
      • Nearing the end of life there are associations between symptoms, unmet need, and QOL.



      The goals of treating recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian cancer are palliative, aimed at reducing symptoms and improving progression free survival. A prospective trial was conducted to determine the prevalence and severity of symptoms, and associated care needs.


      Eligible women included those with persistent or recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian cancer with an estimated life expectancy of at least 6 months. The Needs at the End-of-Life Screening Tool (NEST), FACIT-Fatigue (FACIT-F), NCCN-FACT Ovarian Symptom Index [NFOSI-18]; Disease Related Symptoms (DRS), Treatment Side Effects (TSE), and Function/Well Being (F/WB) were collected at study entry, 3 and 6 months.


      We enrolled 102 evaluable patients. Initiation of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) discussions increased over time from 28% at study entry to 37% at 6 months. At study entry, the most common disease-related symptoms were fatigue (92%), worry (89%), and trouble sleeping (76%); 73% reported being “bothered by treatment side effects”, which included nausea (41%) and hair loss (51%) neither of which changed over time. The most common NEST unmet needs were in the symptom dimension. The social dimension was associated with F/WB (p = 0.002) and FACIT-F (p = 0.006); symptoms were associated with DRS (p = 0.04), TSE (p = 0.03), and FACIT-F (p = 0.04); existential was not associated with any of the patient-reported symptoms; therapeutic was associated with F/WB (p = 0.02).


      In patients nearing the end of life, there are significant associations between disease and treatment related symptoms and unmet patient needs, which do not change substantially over time. Careful exploration of specific end-of-life care needs can improve patient-centered care and QOL.


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