Not all oncology patients and their family caregivers (FCs) experience the same quality of life (QOL). The purposes of this study were to identify latent classes of oncology patients (n = 168) and their FCs (n = 85) with distinct physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being trajectories from prior to through 4 months after the completion of radiation therapy and to evaluate for demographic, clinical, and genetic characteristics that distinguished between these latent classes.
Using growth mixture modeling, two latent classes were found for three (i.e., physical, psychological, and social well-being) of the four QOL domains evaluated.
Across these three domains, the largest percentage of participants reported relatively high well-being scores across the 6 months of the study. Across these three QOL domains, patients and FCs who were younger, female, belonged to an ethnic minority group, had children at home, had multiple comorbid conditions, or had a lower functional status, were more likely to be classified in the lower QOL class. The social well-being domain was the only domain that had a polymorphism in nuclear factor kappa beta 2 (NFKB2) associated with latent class membership. Carrying one or two doses of the rare allele for rs7897947 was associated with a 54 % decrease in the odds of belonging to the lower social well-being class [OR (95 % CI) = .46 (.21, .99), p = .049].
These findings suggest that a number of phenotypic and molecular characteristics contribute to differences in QOL in oncology patients and their FCs.