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Chemotherapy line-associated differences in quality of life in patients with advanced cancer

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The aim of this study was to investigate quality of life (QOL) differences between patients receiving first, second, or third-line palliative chemotherapy (CT).Furthermore, QOL was also compared to a sex- and age-matched sample of healthy controls.


Patients with different metastatic cancers receiving palliative CT were approached to complete the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire by means of touch-screen computers before the start of CT, after 3 cycles and at the end of cytostatic treatment.


One hundred four patients were recruited for QOL assessment (56.9% of patients in first, 22.5% second and 20.6% third- or above-line palliative CT). Compared to healthy controls, they suffered from substantial QOL impairments in all EORTC QLQ-C30 sub-domains. In regard to CT lines, patients with first-line CT reached better scores in emotional and social functioning than second-line patients and less financial difficulties than third-line patients. Despite the high level of impairment in the patient sample, electronic data collection proved to be feasible and well accepted.


The results indicate that patients receiving third- or above-line palliative CT are confronted with stronger QOL impairments than first- and second-line patients. Supported by its feasibility and acceptance of by patients, electronic QOL data capture is an attractive method to screen for symptoms and track their course within clinical routine.

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Correspondence to B. Mayrbäurl.

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Mayrbäurl, B., Wintner, L.M., Giesinger, J.M. et al. Chemotherapy line-associated differences in quality of life in patients with advanced cancer. Support Care Cancer 20, 2399–2405 (2012).

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