Schuler T, Back M, Hruby G, Carroll S, Jayamanne D, Kneebone A, Stevens M, Lamoury G, Morgia M, Wong S, Grimberg K, Roderick S, Booth J, Eade T.
Our purpose was to report outcomes of a novel palliative radiation therapy protocol that omits computed tomography simulation and prospectively collects electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs).
Methods and materials:
Patients receiving extracranial, nonstereotactic, linear accelerator-based palliative radiation therapy who met inclusion criteria (no mask-based immobilization and a diagnostic computed tomography within 4 weeks) were eligible. Global pain was scored with the 11-point numerical pain rating scale (NPRS). Patients were coded as having osseous or soft tissue metastases and no/mild versus severe baseline pain (NPRS ≥ 5). Pain response at 4 weeks was measured according to the international consensus (no analgesia adjustment). Transition to ePRO questionnaires was completed in 3 phases. Initially, pain assessments were collected on paper for 11 months, then pilot ePROs for 1 month and then, after adjustments, revised ePROs from 1 year onwards. ePRO feasibility criteria were established with reference to the paper-based process and published evidence.
Between May 2018 and November 2019, 542 consecutive patients were screened, of whom 163 were eligible (30%), and 160 patients were successfully treated. The proportion of patients eligible for the study improved from approximately 20% to 50% by study end. Routine care pain monitoring via ePROs was feasible. One hundred twenty-seven patients had a baseline NPRS recording. Ninety-five patients had osseous (61% severe pain) and 32 had soft tissue (25% severe pain) metastases. Eighty-four patients (66%) were assessable for pain response at 4 weeks. In the 41 patients with severe osseous pain, overall and complete pain response was 78% and 22%, respectively.
By study completion, 50% of patients receiving palliative extracranial radiation therapy avoided simulation, streamlining the treatment process and maximizing patient convenience. Pain response for patients with severe pain from osseous lesions was equivalent to published evidence.