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Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2007 Dec 21;5:70.

Estimation of minimally important differences in EQ-5D utility and VAS scores in cancer.

Author information

  • 1Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research, Department of Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, USA. pickard1@uic.edu

Erratum in

  • Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2010;8:4.



Understanding what constitutes an important difference on a HRQL measure is critical to its interpretation. The aim of this study was to provide a range of estimates of minimally important differences (MIDs) in EQ-5D scores in cancer and to determine if estimates are comparable in lung cancer.


A retrospective analysis was conducted on cross-sectional data collected from 534 cancer patients, 50 of whom were lung cancer patients. A range of minimally important differences (MIDs) in EQ-5D index-based utility (UK and US) scores and VAS scores were estimated using both anchor-based and distribution-based (1/2 standard deviation and standard error of the measure) approaches. Groups were anchored using Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (PS) ratings and FACT-G total score-based quintiles.


For UK-utility scores, MID estimates based on PS ranged from 0.10 to 0.12 both for all cancers and for lung cancer subgroup. Using FACT-G quintiles, MIDs were 0.09 to 0.10 for all cancers, and 0.07 to 0.08 for lung cancer. For US-utility scores, MIDs ranged from 0.07 to 0.09 grouped by PS for all cancers and for lung cancer; when based on FACT-G quintiles, MIDs were 0.06 to 0.07 in all cancers and 0.05 to 0.06 in lung cancer. MIDs for VAS scores were similar for lung and all cancers, ranging from 8 to 12 (PS) and 7 to 10 (FACT-G quintiles).


Important differences in EQ-5D utility and VAS scores were similar for all cancers and lung cancer, with the lower end of the range of estimates closer to the MID, i.e. 0.08 for UK-index scores, 0.06 for US-index scores, and 7 [corrected] for VAS scores.

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