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J Clin Oncol. 2011 Nov 20;29(33):4430-5. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2011.35.5750. Epub 2011 Oct 17.

Compromised health-related quality of life in patients with low-grade glioma.

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  • 1The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



To investigate the generic and condition-specific health-related quality of life (HRQL) of patients with low-grade glioma (LGG).


A total of 195 patients with LGG, which was diagnosed, on average, 5.6 years before the study, were compared with 100 patients with hematologic (non-Hodgkin's) lymphoma and chronic lymphatic leukemia cancer (NHL/CLL) and 205 general population controls who were comparable with patients with LGG at the group level for age, sex, and education (healthy controls). Generic HRQL was assessed with the Short Form-36 (SF-36) Health Survey, and condition-specific HRQL was assessed with the Medical Outcomes Study cognitive function questionnaire and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer brain cancer module. Objective neurocognitive functioning was assessed with a standardized battery of neuropsychological tests.


No statistically significant differences were observed between patients with LGG and patients with NHL/CLL in SF-36 scores. Patients with LGG scored significantly lower than healthy controls on six of eight scales and on the mental health component score of the SF-36. Approximately one quarter of patients with LGG reported serious neurocognitive symptoms. Female sex, epilepsy burden, and number of objectively assessed neurocognitive deficits were associated significantly with both generic and condition-specific HRQL. Clinical variables, including the time since diagnosis, tumor lateralization, extent of surgery, and radiotherapy, did not show a consistent relationship with HRQL.


Patients with LGG experienced significant problems across a broad range of HRQL domains, many of which were not condition-specific. However, the neurocognitive deficits and epilepsy that were relatively prevalent among patients with LGG were associated with negative HRQL outcomes and, thus, contributed additionally to the vulnerability of this population of patients with cancer.

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