Long-Term Recovery of QoL and Physical Performance in Survivors of AML

Survivors of acute myeloid leukemia achieve recovery in quality of life (QoL) and fatigue 3 years after intensive chemotherapy, but physical performance remains poor, according to a study published in Leukemia (online: June 8, 2018; doi:10.1038/s41375-018-0162-5).

Shabbir Alibhai, MD, University Health Network (Toronto, ON), and colleagues compared quality of life and physical function recovery in patients with AML over 3 years from diagnosis and treatment with intensive chemotherapy to normative data.

A total of 237 adult patients with newly diagnosed AML undergoing intensive chemotherapy without stem cell transplant were enrolled in the study. Assessments were performed at baseline and 11 other times over 3 years. Researchers collected measures for QoL, fatigue, and 3 different physical performance measures—6-minute walk test, grip strength, and chair stands. QoL was assessed using the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer 30-item questionnaire (QLQ-C30), and fatigue was assessed with the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Fatigue subscale (FACT-F).

At a follow-up of 3 years, 59 patients evaluable for analysis remained on the study and in complete remission. Patients experienced significant recovery for QoL and fatigue. Global QoL recovery was observed among 79% of patients after 1 year, 75% of patients after 2 years, and 86% of patients after 3 years. QLQ-C30 subscales with the greatest recovery were physical and emotional functioning. FACT-F scored showed that 68% of patients recovered by year 1, increasing to 77% by year 3.

However, physical performance had low rates of recovery, with only 17% of patients recovered to baseline levels of 6-minute walk test and only 42% returned to normal grip strength after 3-years.

“The vast majority of AML survivors after intensive chemotherapy achieve recovery in QoL and fatigue by three years,” authors of the study concluded. “However, recovery in physical performance remained blunted.”—Janelle Bradley

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