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Pazopanib improves progression-free survival without impairing health-related quality of life

Results of EORTC trial 62072 appearing in Cancer show that in patients with soft tissue sarcoma, whose disease had progressed during or after prior chemotherapy, pazopanib improved progression-free survival but did not change health-related quality of life. This observed improvement in progression-free survival without impairment of health-related quality of life was considered a meaningful result.

There has not been a lot of research that has looked into the quality of life of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma. The results of this EORTC health related quality of life study show that the application of pazopanib for soft tissue sarcoma is quite complicated. This study included an array of outcome assessments including not only efficacy and toxicity but also cost effectiveness and patient-reported outcomes, and it has provided much needed data.

Dr. Andrew Bottomley, Head of the EORTC Quality of Life Department and co-author of this study says “This is one of the few randomized clinical trials with quality of life studies undertaken in metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma in such a robust manner. It’s so important to better understand what treatment options we can offer to these patients, and we hope our results shed more light onto a field that in the past had remained much in the dark.”

Prof. Winette van der Graaf of Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, The Netherlands and coordinator of EORTC trial 62072 points out, “The EORTC health related quality of life study was comprehensive, and although multiple indicators might complicate interpretation of the results, they also provide a more thorough assessment of the impact of pazopanib therapy on the patients and on the impact on the health care system. In the end, this is what is needed to translate clinical trial results to the bedside.”

Corneel Coens, EORTC Biostatistician and lead author of this study explains, “One of the intentions of this study was to investigate if, by delaying tumor progression, pazopanib would improve the quality of life of these sarcoma patients. An ambitious project as this is a relative rare and mixed patient population with little prior data about quality of life. This study informs us about the treatment balance between improving outcome at the cost of side effects.”

This study was conducted by the EORTC Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Group and the EORTC Quality of Life Department and supported by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline.

Health-related quality of life was assessed using the 30-item core EORTC Quality-of-Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) at baseline and at weeks 4, 8, and 12 in patients who received treatment on protocol.

Please also see the accompanying editorial by Dr. Carolyn Gotay of the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

John Bean, PhD
EORTC, Medical Science Writer

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