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Comparing the psychometric properties of the EQ-5D-3L and EQ-5D-5L in cancer patients in Korea

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This study was conducted to assess the redistribution properties of the EQ-5D-3L when using the EQ-5D-5L and to compare the validity, informativity, and reliability of both EQ-5D-3L and EQ-5D-5L in Korean cancer patients.


Patients visiting one ambulatory cancer center self-administered the two versions of the EQ-5D and the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire. Redistribution properties in each dimension of EQ-5D were analyzed between EQ-5D-3L and EQ-5D-5L. Informativity was evaluated using the Shannon entropy and ceiling effect. Convergent validity was evaluated by comparing the EQ-VAS, ECOG performance status, and EORTC QLQ-C30 subscales. Reliability was also evaluated in terms of test–retest reliability.


All levels of the EQ-5D-3L substantially partitioned into associated levels of the EQ-5D-5L. The average inconsistency rate of the two versions was 3.5%. Absolute informativity was higher for the EQ-5D-5L than for the EQ-5D-3L, but their informative efficiency tended to be similar. The proportion of ‘perfect health’ (11111) decreased from 16.8% in the EQ-5D-3L to 9.7% in the EQ-5D-5L. EQ-5D-5L demonstrated similar or higher correlations with the EQ-VAS, ECOG performance status, and EORTC QLQ-C30, than the EQ-5D-3L. The intraclass correlation coefficient of the EQ-5D-5L index was 0.77.


The EQ-5D-5L had greater informativity and lower rate in the ceiling effect than those values of the EQ-5D-3L. The EQ-5D-5L showed good construct validity and reasonable reliability. Therefore, considering these findings, the EQ-5D-5L may be preferable to the EQ-5D-3L.

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Eastern Cancer Oncology Group


3-level version of EQ-5D


5-level version of EQ-5D


European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30


European Union International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research


Health-related quality of life


Health utility index mark 2


Health utility index mark 3


Intraclass correlation coefficient


Short form 6 dimension


Visual analogue scale


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Correspondence to Min-Woo Jo.

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Kim, S.H., Kim, H.J., Lee, Si. et al. Comparing the psychometric properties of the EQ-5D-3L and EQ-5D-5L in cancer patients in Korea. Qual Life Res 21, 1065–1073 (2012).

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