Quality of life in patients with primary and metastatic brain tumors in the literature as assessed by the FACT-Br

Nicholas Chiu, Leonard Chiu, Liang Zeng, Liying Zhang, David Cella, Marko Popovic, Ronald Chow, Henry Lam, Michael Poon, Edward Chow


Background: The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Brain (FACT-Br) is a quality of life (QOL) assessment tool that was originally developed for use in patients with primary brain tumors. However, the tool has also been used to assess QOL in patients with metastatic brain tumors. The purpose of this study is to compare the differences in QOL responses as assessed by the FACT-Br in patients with primary and metastatic brain neoplasms.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted using the OvidSP platform in MEDLINE (1946 to July Week 2 2012) and EMBASE (1980 to 2012 Week 28). Articles in which the FACT-Br was used as a QOL assessment for patients with malignant brain tumors (both primary and metastatic) were included in the study. The weighted means of FACT-Br subscale and overall scores were calculated for the studies. To compare these scores, weighted analysis of variance was conducted and PROC GLM was performed for the data. A P-value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: A total of 23 studies (four in brain metastases, 18 in primary brain tumors and 1 in a mixed sample) using the FACT-Br for assessment of QOL were identified. Social and functional well-being were significantly better in patients with primary brain tumors (weighted mean score of 22.2 vs. 10.7, P = 0.0026, 16.9 vs. 6.2, P = 0.0025, respectively). No other scale of the FACT-Br was significantly different between the two groups and the performance status of patients included in both groups was similar.

Conclusion: Patients with primary brain cancer seemed to have better social and functional well-being scores than those with metastatic brain tumors. Other QOL domains were similar between these two groups. However, the heterogeneity in the included studies and the low sample size of included samples in patients with metastatic brain tumors could have confounded our findings.

World J Oncol. 2012;3(6):280-285
doi: https://doi.org/10.4021/wjon585w


FACT-Br; Quality of Life; Brain metastases; Primary brain tumors

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