Minimal clinically meaningful differences for the EORTC QLQ-C30 and EORTC QLQ-BN20 scales in brain cancer patients

Ann Oncol. 2011 Sep;22(9):2107-2112. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdq726. Epub 2011 Feb 15.


Background: We aimed to determine the smallest changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) scores in the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire core 30 and the Brain Cancer Module (QLQ-BN20), which could be considered as clinically meaningful in brain cancer patients.

Materials and methods: World Health Organisation performance status (PS) and mini-mental state examination (MMSE) were used as clinical anchors appropriate to related subscales to determine the minimal clinically important differences (MCIDs) in HRQoL change scores (range 0-100) in the QLQ-C30 and QLQ-BN20. A threshold of 0.2 standard deviation (SD) (small effect) was used to exclude anchor-based MCID estimates considered too small to inform interpretation.

Results: Based on PS, our findings support the following integer estimates of the MCID for improvement and deterioration, respectively: physical (6, 9), role (14, 12), and cognitive functioning (8, 8); global health status (7, 4*), fatigue (12, 9), and motor dysfunction (4*, 5). Anchoring with MMSE, cognitive functioning MCID estimates for improvement and deterioration were (11, 2*) and for communication deficit were (9, 7). Estimates with asterisks were <0.2 SD and were excluded from our MCID range of 5-14.

Conclusion: These estimates can help clinicians evaluate changes in HRQoL over time, assess the value of a health care intervention and can be useful in determining sample sizes in designing future clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires