Health-related quality of life in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma: a systematic review

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Jul;8(7):559-64.e1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2010.03.008. Epub 2010 Mar 19.


Background & aims: This systematic review was conducted to identify the following: (1) generic and disease-specific measures used to assess health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); (2) HRQOL in patients with HCC compared with those with chronic liver disease and the general population; (3) effects of treatment (liver surgery, hepatic artery transcatheter treatment, and radiotherapy) on HRQOL; (4) relationships between physical variables, symptoms, and HRQOL; (5) relationships between demographic characteristics, psychological variables, and HRQOL; and (6) effects of psychological interventions on HRQOL.

Methods: Computerized databases including British Nursing Index, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Cochrane library, PsychoINFO, and Pubmed were searched.

Results: Thirty-six articles were identified. The results suggested the following. Four original articles described the development of standardized measures to assess liver cancer-specific HRQOL. Patients with HCC reported worse physical, emotional, and functional HRQOL, but better social/family HRQOL compared with the general population. HRQOL improved after liver surgery, hepatic artery transcatheter treatment, and radiotherapy. Better liver function, early stage of disease, and no recurrence were correlated positively with better HRQOL; and pain, fatigue, nausea, and performance status were associated with worse HRQOL. HRQOL was correlated negatively with depression, uncertainty, chance health locus of control, and positively with satisfaction with medical services. Psychosocial interventions may reduce negative feelings and enhance HRQOL.

Conclusions: Future work should explore the effects of psychological variables on HRQOL and the interaction between physical and psychological variables in relation to HRQOL.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / psychology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy
  • Humans
  • Psychotherapy / methods
  • Quality of Life / psychology*