Health-related quality of life in long-term survivors of colorectal cancer and its association with all-cause mortality


Ilka Ratjen, Clemens Schafmayer, Janna Enderle, Romina Di Giuseppe, Sabina Waniek, Manja Koch, Greta Burmeister, Ute Nothlings, Jochen Hampe, Sabrina Schlesinger, Wolfgang Lieb




BMC cancer




BACKGROUND: The group of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors continues to grow worldwide. Understanding health-related quality of life (HRQOL) determinants and consequences of HRQOL impairments in long-term CRC survivors may help to individualize survivorship care plans. We aimed to i) examine the HRQOL status of CRC long-term survivors, ii) identify cross-sectional sociodemographic and clinical correlates of HRQOL, and iii) investigate the prospective association of HRQOL after CRC diagnosis with all-cause mortality. METHODS: We assessed HRQOL within a Northern German cohort of 1294 CRC survivors at a median of 6 years after CRC diagnosis using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30). Cross-sectional correlates of different HRQOL dimensions were analyzed using multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models with HRQOL as a binary variable. With multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression models, hazard ratios (HR) of all-cause mortality were estimated per 10-point-increments of an HRQOL summary score, a global quality of life scale, and HRQOL functioning and symptom domains. RESULTS: The median HRQOL summary score was 87 (interquartile range: 75-94). Sex, age, education, tumor location, metastases, other cancers, type of therapy, and current stoma were identified as correlates of different HRQOL scales. After a median follow-up time of 7 years after HRQOL assessment, 175 participants had died. Nearly all HRQOL domains, except for cognitive functioning and diarrhea, were significantly associated with all-cause mortality. A 10-point-increment in the summary score decreased the risk of death by 24% (HR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.70-0.82). CONCLUSIONS: HRQOL in CRC survivors appeared to be relatively high in the long term. Various clinical and sociodemographic factors were cross-sectionally associated with HRQOL in long-term CRC survivors. Lower HRQOL was associated with increased all-cause mortality. Individualized healthcare programs for CRC survivors (including psychosocial screening and interventions) are needed to detect decreased HRQOL and to further improve long-term HRQOL and survival.