Health-related quality of life in long-term survivors of relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Essig, Stefan; von der Weid, Nicolas X; Strippoli, Marie-Pierre F; Rebholz, Cornelia E; Michel, Gisela; Rueegg, Corina S; Niggli, Felix K; Kuehni, Claudia E; Swiss Pediatric Oncology Group, SPOG (2012). Health-related quality of life in long-term survivors of relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. PLoS ONE, 7(5), e38015. Lawrence, Kans.: Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0038015

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Relapses occur in about 20% of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Approximately one-third of these children can be cured. Their risk for late effects is high because of intensified treatment, but their health-related quality of life (HRQOL) was largely unmeasured. Our aim was to compare HRQOL of ALL survivors with the general population, and of relapsed with non-relapsed ALL survivors.
Methodology/Principal Findings

As part of the Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (SCCSS) we sent a questionnaire to all ALL survivors in Switzerland who had been diagnosed between 1976–2003 at age <16 years, survived ≥5 years, and were currently aged ≥16 years. HRQOL was assessed with the Short Form-36 (SF-36), which measures four aspects of physical health and four aspects of mental health. A score of 50 corresponded to the mean of a healthy reference population. We analyzed data from 457 ALL survivors (response: 79%). Sixty-one survivors had suffered a relapse. Compared to the general population, ALL survivors reported similar or higher HRQOL scores on all scales. Survivors with a relapse scored lower in general health perceptions (51.6) compared to those without (55.8;p=0.005), but after adjusting for self-reported late effects, this difference disappeared.

Compared to population norms, ALL survivors reported good HRQOL, even after a relapse. However, relapsed ALL survivors reported poorer general health than non-relapsed. Therefore, we encourage specialists to screen for poor general health in survivors after a relapse and, when appropriate, specifically seek and treat underlying late effects. This will help to improve patients’ HRQOL.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Essig, Stefan; Strippoli, Marie-Pierre; Michel, Gisela; Rüegg, Corina Silvia and Kühni, Claudia




Public Library of Science




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:35

Last Modified:

16 Nov 2015 10:14

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URI: (FactScience: 220684)

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