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Quality of life (QOL) and sexual function in brain tumor (BT) patients Compared between patients who received radiotherapy (RT) as part of brain tumor treatment and patients who did not receive RT regarding depression, menstrual irregularities and sexual function.

Posted on: 05/26/2002

Quality of life (QOL) and sexual function in brain tumor (BT) patients

Elene T Viscosi, Marlene B Goldman, Ronghui Xu, Nancy Bailey, Donna DelloIacano, Andrew Lee, Peter M Black, Patrick Y Wen, Dana-Farber Cancer Inst, Boston, MA; Beth Israel Deaconess Medcl Ctr, Boston, MA; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.

Although the long term cognitive complications of radiotherapy (RT) are well known, there is little information about other QOL issues, including sexual dysfunction, in medium and long-term survivors of BT. Three questionnaires were administered to two groups of adult BT patients with stable disease. Pituitary tumors were excluded. One group completed RT at least one year previously (median time from RT 31 months). A second group received no RT. Patients' QOL measures included: Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Brain (FACT-BR), Beck Depression Inventory (BI), and a sexual function questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed using Fisher's exact test, two-sample t-test, and multiple linear regression. There were 74 RT patients (16 benign tumors, 25 low-grade gliomas (LGG), 24 high-grade gliomas, 8 metastases, 1 unknown) and 55 non-RT patients (34 benign tumors, 19 LGG, 2 others). Frequency of depression in the RT and non-RT groups was mild 79.7%/78.2%, moderate 12.2%/14.5% and severe 8.1%/7.3%. Frequency of menstrual and sexual dysfunction in the RT and non-RT were: WOMEN-amenorrhea 24%/10.7%, menstrual irregularities 56%/28.6%, decreased sexual interest 39.4%/38.2%, decreased frequency of sex 45.8%/38.5%, sexual dysfunction 16.1%/12.5%, and decreased orgasm 20.8%/25%; MEN-decreased interest 30.8%/25%, decreased frequency of sex 52%/35.7%, impotence 21.6%/17.6% and ejaculation difficulties 18.9%/0%. Multiple correlation coefficient between BI score and sexual dysfunction was 0.28 in women and 0.14 in men. There was no statistical difference between RT and non-RT groups in frequency of depression and FACT-BR QOL subsets. Sexual dysfunction appears to be more frequent in the RT group, but the difference did not reach statistical significance, possibly because of the relatively small number of patients. Menstrual irregularities were slightly more common in RT patients (p=0.055). This study suggests that sexual dysfunction and depression are common in BT patients.

Source: ASCO 2002 Annual Conference
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