Purpose: Long-term survival of childhood leukemia has become a reality with treatment advancement; hence, the need to assess the survivors' health-related quality of life (HRQL) is essential. Although a growing number of Western studies have documented the considerable impact of diagnosis and treatment on HRQL in pediatric leukemia survivors, little finding has been reported in non-Western developing countries.
Methods: We used a previously validated 14-dimensional questionnaire, Child Health Questionnaire 50-item Parent Form (CHQ-PF 50), to examine the perceived HRQL of 32 child/adolescent survivors, currently aged 13.17 ± 2.49 years, who had experienced first complete continuous remission from leukemia for at least 3 years. The HRQL status was compared with that obtained from community subjects (N = 154) and survivors' nonadult siblings (N = 30). Intelligence quotients (IQ) and computerized neuropsychological assessments were performed for subjects.
Results: The HRQL of leukemia survivors was noted to be worse than that of community children and nonadult siblings as reflected by significantly lower scores in both the physical summary and the psychosocial summary score of CHQ-PF 50. 15.6% of the survivors had impaired intelligence (estimated IQ below 70). 27.8% of the adolescents were impaired in the cognitive domains as assessed by neuropsychological tests.
Conclusions: In this Taiwanese single institution experience, pediatric leukemia survivors carried a morbidity burden into their teen years as reflected by worse HRQL than controls. These findings may guide the support required by this population.