Purpose: Due to the increasing use of stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) in treating advanced liver cancer patients, the purpose of this longitudinal study was to explore the changes and factors related to quality of life (QOL) in patients receiving SRT treatment. Materials and methods: Liver cancer patients receiving SRT in northern Taiwan were recruited. The patients were followed up during the baseline pre-SRT and the first 6 weeks of SRT (T0 to T6) in assessing functional status and symptom severity, while depression, selected laboratory data, and QOL were assessed every 3 weeks (T0, T3, and T6). Generalized estimating equations (GEE) analysis was used to explore the significant factors related to the change in QOL. Results: Ninety-nine patients with advanced liver cancer completed seven interviews. The results showed that QOL during SRT was moderate and relatively stable. Performance functional status, depression, the level of albumin, and overall symptom severity were significantly associated with changes in QOL. A further analysis of the relationships between individual symptom severity and QOL revealed that fatigue, lack of appetite, pain, and nausea were the symptoms most affecting QOL across the 6 weeks of SRT. Conclusion: Liver cancer patients had stable and moderate levels of QOL during SRT. Factors related to QOL across the 6 weeks were multi-dimensional. Both overall symptom severity and selected individual symptoms were important to patients' QOL. These factors should all be carefully assessed and clinically treated to enhance liver cancer patients' QOL during SRT.
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