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Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res. 2016;16(2):207-19. doi: 10.1586/14737167.2016.1146594. Epub 2016 Feb 18.

Is the EQ-5D suitable for use in oncology? An overview of the literature and recent developments.

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a Institute of Pharmaceutical Medicine (ECPM) , University of Basel , Basel , Switzerland.
b Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute , University of Zürich , Zürich , Switzerland.
c Network Outcomes Research , Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research Coordination Center , Bern , Switzerland.


The European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D) questionnaire is widely used in oncology to generate quality of life weights (utilities). The typical purpose is to inform health economic evaluation studies. The EQ-5D is generally suitable for this purpose; it has shown a reasonable degree of reliability, content validity, construct validity and responsiveness in the majority of the available studies. In situations of doubt, combination with other quality-of-life instruments may be an option. The authors expect that the five-level version of the EQ-5D will gradually replace the three-level version, due to reduced ceiling effects and more appropriate responsiveness. Further research should address the benefits achievable through additional dimensions or patient-based valuation, and the validity of EQ-5D versions for proxy respondents.


EQ-5D; Health economics; neoplasms; oncology; quality of life; quality-adjusted life year

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