Lege Artis Medicinae

[Palliative chemotherapy of solid tumors]


JUNE 20, 2003

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2003;13(05)

[Palliative chemotherapy, as defined, a cytotoxic treatment where the expected result is not sufficient enough to cure the patient but it could relieve the cancer related symptoms. In other words, it is such a treatment where the chance of symptomatic improvement means an overall advantage to the patient compared to the possible disadvantages of toxicity. In the 70s and 80s, only the objective response rate, relapse free interval, and overall survival rates were selected as endpoints when the activity of anticancer agents were investigated. In these studies it was observed that a considerable amount of patient showed significant symptomatic improvement even though the treatment was ineffective according to the measured endpoints. Today, the measurement of quality of life is one of the standard endpoint of such studies. Moreover, quality of life is considered as the most important independent factor when palliative chemotherapy is initiated. It should be noted that remission is not the only and final benefit of chemotherapy. The role and options of palliative chemotherapy in certain tumors are discussed.]



Further articles in this publication

Lege Artis Medicinae

[End-of-life care]


[Recently, physicians and medical literature are more concerned about end-of-life care. A review is given of studies dealing with the rights of the dying patient, with advance directives and with possible treatments in the last days of life. A survey was done in author's department on medical therapy of the terminal period of 103 inpatients, died between 01. 10. 2001. and 31. 03. 2002. Comparing these data with those of American, Finnish etc. authors, the treatments seem to be more generous - probably because in Hungary it is not (yet?) usual to ”declare” endof- life care and to withdraw active therapy. However, indication of antibiotics seems to be more clinical (28.1%, vs. 42%-88% given by similar foreign data). Antibiotics are not palliative means, however, they may be administered in the last days, if the patient is suffering from a terminal infection. Indications and choice of antibiotics are suggested in these cases; medical and ethical problems discussed. Physicians can relieve the physical and mental distressing symptoms of the dying patient and ensure human dignity and peace of the last days.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Indications of palliative radiotherapy]


[Radiotherapy - as a part of complex, multidisciplinary therapy - indicated in 70% of patients with malignant tumors during the natural course of the disease. Unfortunately, around 40-50% of patients can not be cured due to the advanced stage, recurrence or dissemination of the disease. In such cases radiotherapy with palliative intention can be used to resolve symptoms, decrease tumor burden and increase the quality of life for the patient. Urgent radiotherapy can overcome special symptoms causing acute life-threatening conditions. The author reviews the main indications, radiotherapy techniques, dose-fractionation schedules and treatment results of palliative and urgent radiotherapy used in the daily clinical practice.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Easing nausea and vomiting in terminally ill cancer patients]


[Nausea and vomiting are very frequent problems in terminally ill cancer patients, with many causes in the background. Repeated vomiting considerably affects patients' quality of life and may also cause numerous complications requiring hospitalization. In palliative care these symptoms need to be alleviated knowing that triggering causes persist. To provide effective symptom control we need to understand the triggering mechanism of vomiting as well as to have a deep knowledge of most important antiemetics and to give efficient drugs regularly.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Therapy of high-intensity cancer pain]


[Although cancer pain is usually a chronic one, in certain cases it needs emergency treatment due to its intensity. By the temporal appearance of pain the author discusses separately the possibilities of treatment of the continuous and the episodic (breakthrough) pain and refers particularly to the neuropathic pain. It is stressed that opiate-responsive continuous severe pain can be diminished most quickly by giving morphine intravenously and a recommendation is drafted how to perform it rapidly but safely. Finally, it is emphasized that the absence of pain analysis and appropriate drug therapy is the most important factor of inadequate pain relief up to now.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[What is personal and what is not]

PÖRCZI Zsuzsanna

All articles in the issue

Related contents

Clinical Neuroscience

[Disease burden of Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients and their caregivers]


[Background and purpose - Data on the disease burden of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy are scarce in Hungary. The aim of this study was to assess patients’ and their caregivers’ health related quality of life and healthcare utilisations. Methods - A cross sectional survey was performed as part of the European BURQOL-RD project. The EQ-5D-5L and Barthel Index questionnaires were applied, health care utilisations and patients’ informal carers were surveyed. Results - One symptomatic female carer, 50 children (boys 94%) and six adult patients (five males) participated in the study, the latter two subgroups were included in the analysis. The average age was 9.7 (SD=4.6) and 24.3 (SD=9.8) years, respectively. Median age at time of diagnosis was three years. The average EQ-5D score among children and adults was 0.198 (SD=0.417) and 0.244 (SD=0.322), respectively, the Barthel Index was 57.6 (SD=29.9) and 53.0 (SD=36.5). Score of satisfaction with healthcare (10-point Likert-scale) was mean 5.3 (SD=2.1) and 5.3 (SD=2.9). 15 children were hospitalised in the past 12 months for mean 12.9 (SD=24.5) days. Two patients received help from professional carer. 25 children (mean age 11.1, SD=4.4 years) were helped/supervisied by principal informal carer (parent) for mean 90.1 (SD=44.4) hours/week and further family members helped in 21 cases. Correlation between EQ-5D and Barthel Index was strong and significant (0.731; p<0.01) as well as with informal care time (-0.770; p<0.01), but correlation with satisfaction with health care was not significant (EQ-5D: 0.241; Barthel Index: 0.219; informal care: -0.142). Conclusion - Duchenne muscular dystrophy leads to a significant deterioration in the quality of life of patients. Parents play outstanding role in the care of affected children. This study is the first in the Central and Eastern European region that provides quality of life data in this rare disease for further health economic studies.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The quality of life of the cluster headache patients during the active phase of the headache]


[Introduction - Cluster headache (CH), which affects 0.1% of the population, is one of the most painful human conditions: despite adequate treatment, the frequent and severe headaches cause a significant burden to the patients. According to a small number of previous studies, CH has a serious negative effect on the sufferers’ quality of life (QOL). In the current study, we set out to examine the quality of life of the CH patients attending our outpatient service between 2013 and 2016, using generic and headache-specific QOL instruments. Methods - A total of 42 CH patients (16 females and 26 males; mean age: 39.1±13.5 years) completed the SF-36 generic QOL questionnaire and the headache- specific CHQQ questionnaire (Comprehensive Headache- related Quality of life Questionnaire), during the active phase of their headache. Their data were compared to those of patients suffering from chronic tension type headache (CTH) and to data obtained from controls not suffering from significant forms of headache, using Kruskal-Wallis tests. Results - During the active phase of the CH, the patients’ generic QOL was significantly worse than that of normal controls in four of the 8 domains of the SF-36 instrument. Apart from a significantly worse result in the ‘Bodily pain’ SF-36 domain, there were no significant differences between the CH patients’ and the CTH patients’ results. All the dimensions and the total score of the headache-specific CHQQ instrument showed significantly worse QOL in the CH group than in the CTH group or in the control group. Conclusion - Cluster headache has a significant negative effect on the quality of life. The decrease of QOL experienced by the patients was better reflected by the headache-specific CHQQ instrument than by the generic SF-36 instrument. ]

Journal of Nursing Theory and Practice

Use of Imogene King’s Nursing Model in the Care for a Patient with Heart Arrhythmias


Objectives: To discover the benefits of implementation of Imogene King’s nursing model into nursing care in a patient with arrhythmias. To find out how these patients are limited in saturation of their own needs and what are the most severe limitations for patients with arrhythmias. Material and methods: Qualitative research using semi-structured interviews. The interview with patients with arrhythmia was conducted in accordance with the structure of King’s nursing model. Results: The research group consisted of 20 respondents; 13 men and seven women. All respondents expressed satisfaction with their cooperation with staff. The respondents described a change in the subjectively perceived state, the psychic state, and emotions. Conclusions: Assessment of the subjectively perceived quality of life of patients with arrhythmias using the King’s interaction model allows nurses to see the patient from the holistic point of view and plan and provide individualized care.


[Quality of life of patients with osteoporosis in Hungary]

VOKÓ Zoltán, INOTAI András, HORVÁTH CSABA, BORS Katalin, SPEER Gábor, KALÓ Zoltán

[AIM - The aim of our study was to estimate the loss of quality of life due to osteoporotic fractures. We performed a cross-sectional study including 840 patients in 21 centers that specialise in the care of patients with osteoporosis and in acute care of fractures. METHODS - Patients were selected randomly and stratified for the location of and time elapsed since the fracture. Quality of life (QoL) was assessed by the Qualeffo-41 and the EuroQol-5D questionnaires. RESULTS - Patients with morphometric fractures of more than one vertebra had the lowest median EQ-5D index value (0.59). Symptomatic vertebral, hip and arm fractures also considerably decreased QoL. Patients with morphometric fractures of more than one vertebra had the lowest total Qualeffo-41 score. When controlled for age and gender, patients with hip fracture or morphometric vertebral fracture had at least 0.2 less mean utility values than had osteoporotic patients without history of fracture. Patients with more than a oneyear history of hip fracture had QoL scores as low as had patients with an acute fracture. In case of wrist and arm fractures, the acute loss of QoL somewhat decreased with time. CONCLUSION - In conclusion, osteoporotic fractures, especially hip and vertebral fractures result in a significant loss of patients’ quality of life. Our results show that physicians need to pay a close attention to morphometric vertebral fractures, which contribute to a great loss of human capital.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Effects of neural therapy on quality of live in patients with inoperable lower extremity artery disease ]

MOLNÁR István, DEÁK Botond Zsolt, HEGYI Gabriella, KOVÁCS Zoltán, KAPÓCS Gábor, SZŐKE Henrik

[Objectives - Our aim was to evaluate the effects of percutaneous neurolysis of lumbal sympathetic ganglions on pain and the resulting changes in quality of life with validated objective and subjective methods. To follow the adverse effects and complications of the procedure. Materials and methods - A prospective, non-randomized, interventional, clinical cohort study under real life conditons was conducted. The time of the observation was 6 months. Palliative neural therapy was performed to reduce the ischemic pain of the affected leg of the patients involved in the study. Prior to treatment and after 35 days, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) was used to measure the intensity of lower limb pain. The related changes in the quality of life were followed by a general 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) questionnaire. We measured the changes of the patients’ skin temperature and ankle/arm index. The post-treatment results were compared to the pre-treatment results. We compared the results of objective and subjective measures. We followed the side effects and complications of the pain therapy. Each of the examined subjects had obliterative (Fontaine II/b stage) arterial disease of the lower limbs, in which no revascularization intervention was feasible and their ischemic pain was of VAS≥7. Results - Data of 124 patients (69 male, 55 female) could be evaluated. The decrease in intensity of limb pain in the post-treatment period was significant (p=0.001). Quality of life also indicated a significant improvement (p=0.004). Changes in skin temperature and ankle/arm index demonstrated significant improvement (p≤0.005): skin temperature increased from 27.6°C to 31.2°C, the ankle/arm index inceased from 0.67 to 0.83 on average. Changes in objective and subjective measures correlated with each other. No worthening of symptoms, serious adverse events or complications were observed. Conclusion - The chemical denervation of the lumbar sympathetic ganglions with percutaneous application is a minimally invasive intervention, useful in outpatient care, which can be well tolerated by the patient without any significant side effect or complication. Its hyperaemic effect and the pain reduction of the leg can improve the quality of life of the patients.]