With the recent trend of improved survival, there has been a marked interest in reviewing and refining the contribution of health related quality of life (HRQoL) outcome measures of treatment in advanced colorectal cancer. However, if HRQoL data are going to be of clinical value and help both physicians and patients make decisions there is a need for a consensus on both the design and methods of measurement of HRQoL in clinical trials, and an acknowledgement of the interpretation of the outcomes in clinical practice. Whilst it is encouraging to find that the quality of HRQoL measurement in clinical research has improved significantly over the last fifteen years, with a growing number of trial-based HRQoL studies, there is still the potential to improve the use of HRQoL in clinical decision making in advanced colorectal cancer. There is also the need to further refine measurement of HRQoL to provide useful data specific to these patients. It is anticipated that developments such as the liver metastases module EORTC (QLQ-LMC21) questionnaire will increase the sensitivity to change of the generic cancer measure, the EORTC QLQ-C30 and will provide essential HRQoL information regarding the use of treatments in both the curative and palliative settings. Furthermore, easy to use simple tools such as the "minimum standard checklist for evaluating HRQoL outcomes in cancer clinical trials" might be of help in guiding investigators on the basis of minimum criteria.