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Haematologica. 2011 Oct;96(10):1528-35. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2011.046367. Epub 2011 Jun 17.

Sensitivity of changes in chronic graft-versus-host disease activity to changes in patient-reported quality of life: results from the Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease Consortium.

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Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.



The 2005 National Institute of Health Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease Consensus Conference recommended collection of patient-reported outcomes in clinical trials on chronic graft-versus-host disease. We assessed whether changes in chronic graft-versus-host disease severity, determined using National Institute of Health criteria, clinicians' assessment or patients' self-evaluation, correlated with patient-reported quality of life as measured by the Short Form-36 and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Bone Marrow Transplant (FACT-BMT) instruments.


Three-hundred and thirty-six adult patients (median age 52 years; range, 19-79) with chronic graft-versus-host disease from six transplant centers contributed baseline and follow-up data (from 936 visits overall).


While the majority of the patients had stable chronic graft-versus-host disease, improvement or worsening was noted in approximately 40% of follow-up visits. Multivariable analysis demonstrated no association between change in chronic graft-versus-host disease severity evaluated by National Institute of Health criteria and change in quality of life, while clinician-reported changes in severity were associated with changes in some quality of life measures. Patient-reported changes in the severity of chronic graft-versus-host disease were associated with changes in all quality of life measures. Comparison of the Short Form-36 and the FACT-BMT suggested that the data collected in the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G) core survey are sufficient without the need for the Short Form-36 or the FACT-BMT subscale.


We conclude that serial National Institute of Health and clinician-reported chronic graft-versus-host disease severity assessments cannot substitute for patient-reported outcomes in clinical trials. Collection of just the FACT-G instead of the Short Form-36 and the full FACT-BMT will decrease respondent burden without compromising quality of life assessment.

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