Estimation of minimally important differences in EQ-5D utility and VAS scores in cancer

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2007 Dec 21;5:70. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-5-70.


Background: Understanding what constitutes an important difference on a HRQL measure is critical to its interpretation. The aim of this study was to provide a range of estimates of minimally important differences (MIDs) in EQ-5D scores in cancer and to determine if estimates are comparable in lung cancer.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted on cross-sectional data collected from 534 cancer patients, 50 of whom were lung cancer patients. A range of minimally important differences (MIDs) in EQ-5D index-based utility (UK and US) scores and VAS scores were estimated using both anchor-based and distribution-based (1/2 standard deviation and standard error of the measure) approaches. Groups were anchored using Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (PS) ratings and FACT-G total score-based quintiles.

Results: For UK-utility scores, MID estimates based on PS ranged from 0.10 to 0.12 both for all cancers and for lung cancer subgroup. Using FACT-G quintiles, MIDs were 0.09 to 0.10 for all cancers, and 0.07 to 0.08 for lung cancer. For US-utility scores, MIDs ranged from 0.07 to 0.09 grouped by PS for all cancers and for lung cancer; when based on FACT-G quintiles, MIDs were 0.06 to 0.07 in all cancers and 0.05 to 0.06 in lung cancer. MIDs for VAS scores were similar for lung and all cancers, ranging from 8 to 12 (PS) and 7 to 10 (FACT-G quintiles).

Discussion: Important differences in EQ-5D utility and VAS scores were similar for all cancers and lung cancer, with the lower end of the range of estimates closer to the MID, i.e. 0.08 for UK-index scores, 0.06 for US-index scores, and 7 [corrected] for VAS scores.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Cancer Care Facilities
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Value of Life