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24-07-2015 | Uitgave 12/2015 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 12/2015

Quality of life of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in the Netherlands: results of a longitudinal multicentre study

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 12/2015
K. M. Holtzer-Goor, M. R. Schaafsma, P. Joosten, E. F. M. Posthuma, S. Wittebol, P. C. Huijgens, E. J. M. Mattijssen, G. Vreugdenhil, H. Visser, W. G. Peters, Z. Erjavec, P. W. Wijermans, S. M. G. J. Daenen, K. G. van der Hem, M. H. J. van Oers, C. A. Uyl-de Groot
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11136-015-1039-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



To describe the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of an unselected population of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) including untreated patients.


HRQoL was measured by the EORTC QLQ-C30 including the CLL16 module, EQ-5D, and VAS in an observational study over multiple years. All HRQoL measurements per patient were connected and analysed using area under the curve analysis over the entire study duration. The total patient group was compared with the general population, and three groups of CLL patients were described separately, i.e. patients without any active treatment (“watch and wait”), chlorambucil treatment only, and patients with other treatment(s).


HRQoL in the total group of CLL patients was compromised when compared with age- and gender-matched norm scores of the general population. CLL patients scored statistically worse on the VAS and utility score of the EQ-5D, all functioning scales of the EORTC QLQ-C30, and the symptoms of fatigue, dyspnoea, sleeping disturbance, appetite loss, and financial difficulties. In untreated patients, the HRQoL was slightly reduced. In all treatment stages, HRQoL was compromised considerably. Patients treated with chlorambucil only scored worse on the EORTC QLQ-C30 than patients who were treated with other treatments with regard to emotional functioning, cognitive functioning, bruises, uncomfortable stomach, and apathy.


CLL patients differ most from the general population on role functioning, fatigue, concerns about future health, and having not enough energy. Once treatment is indicated, HRQoL becomes considerably compromised. This applies to all treatments, including chlorambucil, which is considered to be a mild treatment.

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