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Br J Cancer. 2013 Jan 15;108(1):49-57. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2012.550.

Sexual quality of life in Hodgkin Lymphoma: a longitudinal analysis by the German Hodgkin Study Group.

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  • 1First Department of Internal Medicine, German Hodgkin Study Group (GHSG), University of Cologne, Kerpener Street 62, D-50924 Cologne, Germany.



Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) comprises different domains of physical, mental, and social well-being. In this analysis, we focus on sexual quality of life in Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL) patients.


Four-thousand one-hundred and sixty patients enroled in the HD10-HD12 trials underwent HRQoL assessment. Instruments included the Quality of Life Questionnaire for survivors (QLQ-S), combining the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30, Multidimensional fatigue (FA) inventory (MFI-20) and an additional sexual functioning (SX) scale. We describe SX up to 27 months after therapy and analyse relationship to stage, age, gender, FA, social functioning, and therapy. Statistical methods range from descriptive statistics to a classification of SX courses, and a longitudinal structural equations model with full information maximum likelihood estimation of missing data. In the analysis, a score below 50 was used to describe severe sexual dysfunction.


Three-thousand two-hundred and eight patients provided data on SX. Patients in advanced stages reported lower SX than patients in early stages both, before and after the treatment. During follow-up, an improvement of SX compared with baseline was detected, except for those ≥50 years. Patients in early stages reached normal SX, whereas advanced-stage patients remained below the reference value for healthy controls. Sexual functioning during follow-up was significantly and strongly related to previous SX, other HRQoL measures, age, and stage, and to lesser degree with gender and chemotherapy.


Overall, HL patients have a decreased sexual quality of life at baseline, which improves after therapy and normalises in early-stage patients. Importantly, long-term SX is more closely related to patient characteristics and SX at baseline than to the intensity of treatment.

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