Objectives: The aim of this longitudinal study was to determine the long-term quality of life (QoL) of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and to investigate the relationship between QoL and sociodemographic and clinical parameters.
Methods: Ninety-seven patients suffering from CLL were asked to complete the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) four times over a period of 1 yr. Clinical data on disease and treatment characteristics were collected from medical records. For the purpose of comparison, EORTC QLQ-C30 scores were collected from 152 age- and gender-matched healthy controls.
Results: Seventy-six patients (age: median 68 yr, range 41-89) returned one or more questionnaires and were included in the statistical analysis. Compared with healthy controls CLL patients reported a lower QoL in almost all domains. No differences regarding QoL could be observed between CLL patients who had already received chemotherapy and those who had not. Moreover, female CLL patients were found to have remarkably lower QoL scores in the areas of emotional and social functioning than male patients.
Conclusion: Patients suffering from CLL could have their QoL improved by more effective symptom management and psycho-oncological support. This could focus on specific symptoms such as fatigue and might have particular benefits for female patients with respect to their emotional and social well-being.