Health-related quality of life in patients with advanced metastatic melanoma: results of a randomized phase III study comparing temozolomide with dacarbazine.
Kiebert GM., Jonas DL., Middleton MR.
Health-related quality of life (HRQL) is a crucial endpoint in the evaluation of treatments that have limited survival benefits. The HRQL evaluations help ensure that patients are not sacrificing life quality for quantity. Current treatments for metastatic melanoma are primarily palliative, because cure is unattainable. The purpose of this article is to report detailed HRQL results of a phase III clinical trial comparing temozolomide to dacarbazine (DTIC) in patients with metastatic melanoma. Patients were randomized to receive either oral temozolomide for 5 days every 4 weeks or intravenous DTIC for 5 days every 3 weeks. The HRQL was evaluated on day 1 cycle 1 and after each subsequent treatment cycle using the EORTC QLQ-C-30. The HRQL was compared between groups at weeks 12 and 24. Patients treated with temozolomide reported significantly better physical functioning and less fatigue and sleep disturbances than patients treated with DTIC at week 12. For all but two function and symptom subscales, EORTC QLQ-C30 subscale scores were numerically better for patients treated with temozolomide at week 12. All subscales except diarrhea were better for temozolomide at week 24. Analyses of change scores revealed that patients treated with temozolomide reported statistically significant improvements in emotional well-being and sleep disturbance. Patients also reported near significant change in cognitive functioning (3.9, p = 0.06). Patients treated with DTIC deteriorated on most function subscales and many symptom subscales at week 12. Deterioration in physical functioning approached significance (-6.8, p = 0.06). At week 24, patients treated with DTIC improved on the emotional functioning subscale and deteriorated on the physical, role, and global HRQL subscales, although many of the symptom scores improved. The results of this study suggest that treatment with temozolomide leads to important functional improvements and decreased symptoms compared to treatment with DTIC in patients being treated for metastatic melanoma.