Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. One of the primary treatment goals for incurable advanced cases is to prolong quality of life (QoL). Thus, to determine which HCC therapies may be linked to a more favorable QoL, we assessed the association between QoL changes and different treatments in HCC patients.
We analyzed a non-randomized multicenter longitudinal study, which included 171 patients treated with surgery (n = 53), ablation (n = 53) or embolization (n = 65) from seven centers: four Asian and three European sites. All participants completed the EORTC QLQ-C30 and QLQ-HCC18 questionnaires before and after treatment. Propensity scores were calculated and used in addition to race for adjustment in the logistic regression model to account for the confounding effects of patient characteristics including age, gender, race, employment, living with family, at least one comorbid condition, years since diagnosis, prior treatment history, BCLC stage, Child–Pugh grade, cirrhosis, bilirubin levels and QoL score before treatment.
After adjustment for confounders, patients tended to have higher odds of QoL deterioration when treated with ablation versus embolization (dyspnea: p = 0.019; appetite loss: p = 0.018; body image: p = 0.035) or ablation versus surgery (dyspnea: p = 0.099; appetite loss: p = 0.100; body image: p = 0.038).
There were significant differences in QoL deterioration across different treatment groups. This information may assist patients and providers when selecting patient-centered treatment approaches for HCC.