Quality of life is predictive of survival in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma

Ann Oncol. 2006 Jul;17(7):1083-9. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdl065. Epub 2006 Apr 6.


Background: Patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have a dismal prognosis. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether patient-reported baseline quality of life (QoL) measured by the EORTC QLQ-C30 instrument is predictive of survival for these patients.

Materials and methods: Two hundred and thirty-three patients with unresectable HCC (mainly hepatitis B-associated) who were recruited into two separate randomized phase III clinical studies, based on palliative chemotherapy and palliative hormonal therapy, respectively, gave consent and received pretreatment QoL assessment. EORTC QLQ-C30 scores and clinical variables at the time of study entry were analyzed to identify factors that influenced survival by applying multivariate analysis. Independent prognostic factors for survival were studied by Cox regression analysis.

Results: Median survival of the 233 patients was 5.5 months (95% CI 4.2-6.5 months). Significant independent predictors of shorter survival were advanced Okuda staging (P = 0.0030; HR = 2.058), high baseline total bilirubin (P = 0.0008; HR = 1.013) and worse QoL score in the appetite score domain (P = 0.0028; HR for 10 point increase = 1.070). Patients who were entered into the chemotherapy trial (P = 0.0002; HR = 0.503), those who scored better in the physical functioning domain (P = 0.0034; HR for 10 point decrease = 0.911) and the role functioning domain (P = 0.0383; HR for 10 point decrease = 0.944) of the QoL questionnaire, were associated with longer survival.

Conclusions: In the studied HCC population, patient-reported baseline QoL provides additional prognostic information that supplements traditional clinical factors, and is a new prognostic marker for survival for patients with unresectable HCC.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Palliative Care
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Tamoxifen