Melanoma Coverage from Every Angle

Quality of Life of Melanoma Survivors Treated With Pembrolizumab

By: Joshua Swore
Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A recent study published in Supportive Care in Cancer investigated health-related quality of life, emotional burden, and neurocognitive function in melanoma survivors who were treated with pembrolizumab. The authors found these individuals to be at risk for numerous quality-of-life factors during melanoma remission. According to A. Rogiers, MD, of CHU Brugmann and Brussels University Hospital, and colleagues, emotional distress and neurocognitive impairment seemed to have a persistent impact on the health-related quality of life of survivors of melanoma.

The study identified 25 patients diagnosed with melanoma but in remission for a minimum of 6 months after treatment with pembrolizumab. The cohort included 18 women and 7 men, with a median age of 58 (range, 28–86 years). All patients received a baseline assessment that included a 60-minute clinical interview, a 40-minute cognitive test, and a 20-minute questionnaire. Follow-ups were performed at 6 months and 1 year. Some patients received follow-ups at 3 (n =18) and 9 months (n = 6). The authors used the European Organisation for Research and Treatment Core quality-of-life questionnaire to score quality of life and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale to assess anxiety and depression.

At baseline testing and all follow-ups, the average health-related quality-of -life score of patients was significantly lower than the European Mean of the healthy population. At the final checkup, eight individuals had improved from their initial baseline, whereas six patients clinically worsened. Scores for physical, role, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning scales were lower in these survivors of melanoma than in the healthy population at all time points.

The authors also found 12 patients developed cancer-related post-traumatic stress disorder and exhibited more prominent anxiety and depression than the healthy population. During the study, 15 patients met the threshold score for clinical anxiety, 10 of those patients had comorbid depressive symptoms, and 1 patient suffered from depression without anxiety.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of study authors, visit

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