Purpose: Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are now standard treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). While TKIs have less toxicity than previous treatments, they have side effects that can impact quality of life (QOL).
Methods: This study compared CML patients taking a TKI for an average of 4.01 years (range 0.50-9.79 years) to age- and gender-matched controls with no history of cancer on measures of symptom burden, depression, fatigue, sleep, and health-related QOL.
Results: Compared to controls (n = 62), CML patients (n = 62) taking a TKI (imatinib 55 %, nilotinib 31 %, and dasatinib 14 %) reported significantly worse fatigue severity (p < .001), fatigue interference (p < .001), depression (p = .007), symptom burden (p < .001), and physical QOL (p < .001). TKI patients were also more likely meet established cutoffs for clinically meaningful fatigue (p values < .001) and depression (p = .004). There were no differences in mental QOL or sleep (p values > .010). Regarding specific symptoms, TKI patients were more likely to report nausea, diarrhea, itching, skin changes, swelling of arms or legs, and not looking like themselves (p values < .001).
Conclusions: These data suggest the need for interventions to address QOL in CML patients taking TKIs.