Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 1117–1124 | Cite as

Long-term quality of life after radical prostatectomy in wives of men in the postoperative adjuvant androgen deprivation trial

  • Katherine Regan Sterba
  • Richard J. Swartz
  • Karen Basen-Engquist
  • Peter C. Black
  • Curtis A. Pettaway
Original Article



We examined quality of life in spouses of men in the Post-Adjuvant Androgen Deprivation trial after radical prostatectomy.


Men at high risk of prostate cancer recurrence were randomized to receive androgen deprivation therapy or observation. Forty-three couples completed telephone interviews every 6 months for 2 years assessing women’s mood disturbance, mental and physical health, and sexual function and bother as well as men’s symptoms and sociodemographic and marital variables. We used linear mixed modeling to explore relationships between wives’ quality of life and time, treatment group, and men’s symptoms.


Women’s mental health functioning improved over time (p < 0.05). Furthermore, women with husbands in the observation group had worse mood disturbance (p = 0.01) and poorer mental health (p = 0.02) than women with husbands in treatment. Men’s symptoms were associated with worse physical health in wives (p = 0.02). Women also reported worse sexual function at 18 and 24 months compared with baseline (p = 0.02), but ratings of sexual bother were unrelated to time, treatment, and symptoms.


These exploratory results are consistent with research demonstrating that spousal cancer-related distress decreases over time. Treatment group differences suggest that an examination of caregiving in the context of uncertainty is warranted. Also, the physical burden of caregiving may intensify when men have more symptoms. To inform interventions, future studies should clarify how treatment and symptoms influence wives’ distress by examining expectations and communication.


Prostate cancer Quality of life Partners Symptoms 



Patients in the PAAD Trial received free study drug from TAP Pharmaceutical (Lake Forest, IL, USA), AstraZeneca (Wilmington, DE, USA), or Schering Plough (Kenilworth, NJ, USA). First author’s work was supported by an NCI Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health–National Cancer Institute/NIH Grant #2R25CA57712. Second author’s work was supported by an NCI K07 career development award (K07 CA113641). Fourth author’s work was supported by an NIH T32 Training Grant (CA079449) and an American Urological Association Foundation Scholarship.

The authors wish to thank Dr. Jane G. Zapka for her comments on this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have a conflict of interest to report. We have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review the data if requested.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Regan Sterba
    • 1
  • Richard J. Swartz
    • 2
  • Karen Basen-Engquist
    • 3
  • Peter C. Black
    • 4
  • Curtis A. Pettaway
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Biostatistics and EpidemiologyMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiostatisticsThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Behavioral ScienceThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Urologic SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  5. 5.Department of UrologyThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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