Influence of co-morbidity on long-term quality of life after oesophagectomy for cancer

Br J Surg. 2014 Apr;101(5):495-501. doi: 10.1002/bjs.9417. Epub 2014 Jan 29.


Background: The extent to which co-morbidities affect recovery of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in long-term survivors of oesophageal cancer surgery is poorly understood.

Methods: This was a prospective, population-based, nationwide Swedish cohort study of patients who underwent surgery for oesophageal cancer between 2001 and 2005, and were alive 5 years after operation. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30 and the QLQ-OES18 questionnaires were used to assess HRQoL up to 5 years after surgery. Eight aspects from the questionnaires were selected. Matched reference values from the Swedish general population were used as a proxy for HRQoL before presentation of the cancer. Adjusted multivariable linear mixed-effect models were used to assess mean score differences (MDs) of each HRQoL aspect in patients with or without co-morbidities.

Results: Of 616 patients who underwent surgery, 153 (24·8 per cent) survived 5 years, of whom 141 (92·2 per cent) completed the questionnaires at 5 years. Among these, 79 (56·0 per cent) had co-morbidities. Patients with co-morbidity had clinically relevant (MD at least 10) and statistically significantly poorer global quality of life (MD -10, 95 per cent confidence interval -12 to -7), and more problems with dyspnoea (MD 10, 6 to 13) throughout the whole follow-up period than those without co-morbidity. Patients with co-morbidity had a clinically relevant worse level of fatigue at 6 months (MD 10, 1 to 19) and 5 years (14, 4 to 24). With regard to specific co-morbidities, only patients with diabetes reported more clinically relevant, but not statistically significant, problems with fatigue at 6 months (MD 16, 2 to 31) and 5 years (MD 13, -5 to 31) compared with patients without co-morbidity.

Conclusion: Among survivors of oesophageal cancer surgery, the presence of co-morbidity was associated with poor HRQoL over time and increasing symptoms of fatigue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / complications
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Esophagectomy / methods
  • Esophagectomy / mortality*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome