, Volume 22, Issue 8, pp 2113-2118
Date: 20 Mar 2014

Quality of life of chronic myeloid leukemia patients in Brazil: ability to work as a key factor

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the quality of life (QOL) of patients receiving treatment by the public health system in Brazil for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a disease requiring daily and strict compliance to oral medication and regular blood and bone marrow controls, which are invasive exams.


Between 2008 and 2010, patients with CML were surveyed by telephone. Quality of life was evaluated by the functional assessment of chronic illness therapy (FACIT) tool.


The mean QOL among CML patients was 92.53 (out of 124 total points) in the trial outcome index, 78.50 (out of 108) in the general total score, and 130.43 (out of 176) in the leukemia total score. Patients who had the prescriptions recently changed anyway had better QOL general score (p = 0.012) and leukemia-specific score (p = 0.043) than those who remained with the same treatment. Imatinib was not associated with this change in QOL (p > 0.797). The more the patient felt able to work, the higher the scores in all three FACIT scales (p < 0.001, Spearman’s correlation). The use of imatinib (p = 0.012) was associated with a better ability to work, while chemotherapy (p = 0.017) and the use of hydroxyurea (p = 0.001) were inversely associated with work capability.


A recent change in medication can improve quality of life. The ability to work is an important component of quality of life of patients with CML. Ability to work should be specifically considered in CML treatment.