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Eur J Cancer. 2004 May;40(7):1021-30.

Baseline health-related quality-of-life data as prognostic factors in a phase III multicentre study of women with metastatic breast cancer.

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EORTC Data Centre, Quality of Life Unit, Avenue E. Mounier, 83-1200 Brussels, Belgium.


The potential value of baseline health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) and clinical factors in predicting prognosis was examined using data from an international randomised phase III trial which compared doxorubicin and paclitaxel with doxorubicin and cylophosphamide as first line chemotherapy in 275 women with metastatic breast cancer. The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 and the related breast module (QLQ-BR23) were used to assess baseline HRQOL data. The Cox proportional-hazards regression model was used for both univariate and multivariate analyses of survival. In the univariate analyses, performance status (P<0.001) and number of sites involved (P=0.001) were the most important clinical prognostic factors. The HRQOL variables at baseline most strongly associated with longer survival were better appetite, physical and role functioning, as well as less fatigue (P<0.001). The final multivariate model retained performance status (P<0.001) and appetite loss (P=0.005) as the variables best predicting survival. Substantial loss of appetite was the only independent HRQOL factor predicting poor survival and was strongly correlated (/r/>0.5) with fatigue, role and physical functioning. In addition to known clinical factors, appetite loss appears to be a significant prognostic factor for survival in women with metastatic breast cancer. However, the mechanism underlying this association remains to be precisely defined in future studies.

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