Adv Radiat Oncol. 2022 Nov 28;8(2):101134. doi: 10.1016/j.adro.2022.101134. eCollection 2023 Mar-Apr.
PURPOSE: Bone metastases frequently occur during malignant disease. Palliative radiation therapy (PRT) is a crucial part of palliative care because it can relieve pain and improve patients’ quality of life. Often, a clinician’s survival estimation is too optimistic. Prognostic scores (PSs) can help clinicians tailor PRT indications to avoid over- or undertreatment. Although the PS is supposed to aid radiation oncologists (ROs) in palliative-care scenarios, it is unclear what type of support, and to what extent, could impact daily clinical practice.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: A national-based investigation of the prescriptive decisions on simulated clinical cases was performed in Italy. Nine clinical cases from real-world clinical practice were selected for this study. Each case description contained complete information regarding the parameters defining the prognosis class according to the PS (in particular, the Mizumoto Prognostic Score, a validated PS available in literature and already applied in some clinical trials). Each case description contained complete information regarding the parameters defining the prognosis class according to the PS. ROs were interviewed through questionnaires, each comprising the same 3 questions per clinical case, asking (1) the prescription after detailing the clinical case features but not the PS prognostic class definition; (2) whether the RO wanted to change the prescription once the PS prognostic class definition was revealed; and (3) in case of a change of the prescription, a new prescriptive option. Three RO categories were defined: dedicated to PRT (RO-d), nondedicated to PRT (RO-nd), and resident in training (IT). Interviewed ROs were distributed among different regions of the country.
RESULTS: Conversion rates, agreements, and prescription trends were investigated. The PS determined a statistically significant 11.12% of prescription conversion among ROs. The conversion was higher for the residents and significantly higher for worse prognostic scenario subgroups, respectively. The PS improved prescriptive agreement among ROs (particularly for worse-prognostic-scenario subgroups). Moreover, PS significantly increased standard prescriptive approaches (particularly for worse-clinical-case presentations).
CONCLUSIONS: To the best of our knowledge, the PROPHET study is the first to directly evaluate the potential clinical consequences of the regular application of any PS. According to the Prophet study, a prognostic score should be integrated into the clinical practice of palliative radiation therapy for bone metastasis and training programs in radiation oncology.