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Eur J Cancer. 2012 Jul;48(11):1602-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2011.10.026. Epub 2011 Nov 24.

Reference values of oesophago-gastric symptoms (EORTC QLQ-OG25) in a population-based setting.

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  • 1Upper Gastrointestinal Research, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.



Health-related quality of life (HRQL) has been recognised as an important outcome in clinical cancer research. A problem in HRQL studies is the lack of true baseline measures since patients already suffer from symptoms at time of diagnosis. The aim of this study is to provide valid reference values regarding symptoms common among oesophageal and gastric cancer patients, based on an unselected adult population.


In 2008 the EORTC QLQ-OG25 questionnaire was sent to randomly selected people in the adult Swedish population. Mean scores with standard deviation were calculated. Frequencies of symptoms were categorised into 'symptoms' or 'no symptoms'. The analyses were subcategorised for age groups, gender, and cancer diagnosis.


In total, 4910 (70.5%) people responded to the questionnaire. Reflux was reported by 22.5% of the population, 25.6% reported pain and discomfort in the stomach area, 25.5% dry mouth and 32.0% had trouble with coughing. Other symptoms were dysphagia (3.5%), odynophagia (5.1%), and trouble eating with others (2.9%). Reflux, pain and discomfort and dry mouth were more often reported among women, while trouble with coughing was overrepresented among men. The symptoms dry mouth and trouble with coughing increased with age in both sexes.


This comprehensive study is the first to provide reference values for the EORTC QLQ-OG25 questionnaire. These can be used as baseline surrogate in clinical research in oesophago-gastric cancer patients.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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