Dysgeusia and health-related quality of life of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: A cross-sectional study

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2017 Mar;26(2). doi: 10.1111/ecc.12633. Epub 2017 Jan 19.


The aim of the study was to evaluate taste disorders in patients receiving chemotherapy and to assess the impact of dysgeusia on patients' health-related quality of life (HRQOL). A total of 289 patients with a diagnosis of malignant solid or haematological cancer undergoing chemotherapy completed a questionnaire assessing dysgeusia and HRQOL. Sixty-four per cent of patients developed dysgeusia after and during chemotherapy. A statistically significant correlation was found between type of cancer and dysgeusia (p = .012), moreover a statistically significant association was found between type of chemotherapy and occurrence of dysgeusia (p = .031). Patients with dysgeusia had a worse overall HRQOL than those who did not have dysgeusia, and the association between HRQOL and dysgeusia was also statistically significant (p = .003). Patients with dysgeusia had a higher probability of having a worse HRQOL (p = .002). In line with previous studies, we observed a significant correlation between chemotherapy and dysgeusia. Furthermore, this study found that cancer patients with dysgeusia have a lower quality of life. In particular the domains "role," "social aspect," "nausea-vomiting" and "appetite" are most influenced by dysgeusia. Improving the communication and information to patients considered at higher risk of developing dysgeusia can have a positive impact on patients' quality of life.

Keywords: chemotherapy; dysgeusia; haematological cancer; health-related quality of life; oral complications; taste disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anorexia / chemically induced
  • Anthracyclines / adverse effects
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / adverse effects
  • Bortezomib / adverse effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dysgeusia / chemically induced*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / chemically induced
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Platinum Compounds / adverse effects
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Role
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taxoids / adverse effects
  • Vinca Alkaloids / adverse effects
  • Vomiting / chemically induced


  • Anthracyclines
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Platinum Compounds
  • Taxoids
  • Vinca Alkaloids
  • Bortezomib