Impact of the treatment-free interval on health-related quality of life in patients with multiple myeloma: a UK cross-sectional survey

Support Care Cancer. 2013 Feb;21(2):599-607. doi: 10.1007/s00520-012-1548-y. Epub 2012 Aug 12.


Background: While the impact of various treatments on myeloma patients' health-related quality of life (HRQL) has been reported, the impact of a treatment-free interval (TFI) is currently unclear. The aims of this study were to assess if (1) a TFI is associated with a better HRQL vs. other treatment phases and (2) the length of the TFI influences HRQL.

Methods: A cross-sectional postal survey was conducted in the UK. The survey was sent to 605 multiple myeloma patients via the charity Myeloma UK and asked patients to rate their HRQL using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 (QLQ-C30), EORTC QLQ-MY20 and the EQ-5D. The results were analysed using ordinary least squares regression.

Results: Surveys of 402 (67 %) were returned; 370 (61 %) were considered eligible for analysis. Results demonstrated that being in a first TFI relative to other treatment phases and experiencing a longer TFI were significantly associated with better HRQL as assessed by various domains of the QLQ-C30, MY20 and EQ-5D.

Conclusion: Patients enjoy better HRQL when in their first TFI, and the length of the TFI also positively impacts on HRQL This information may be important for patients and their physicians making treatment decisions and has implications for treatment protocols incorporating extended therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Critical Pathways
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / psychology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • United Kingdom


  • Antineoplastic Agents