Purpose: To evaluate and compare health-related quality of life (HRQOL) after conventional- and high-dose adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with high-risk breast cancer. Patients and Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to either a conventional or high-dose chemotherapy regimen; both regimens were followed by radiotherapy and tamoxifen. HRQOL was evaluated until disease progression using the Short Form-36 (SF-36), Visual Analog Scale, and Rotterdam Symptom Checklist and assessed every 6 months for 5 years after random assignment. For the SF-36, data from healthy Dutch women with the same age distribution served as reference values. Results: Eight hundred four patients (conventional-dose chemotherapy, n = 405; high-dose chemotherapy, n = 399) were included. Median follow-up time was 57 months. Directly after high-dose chemotherapy, HRQOL decreased more compared with conventional chemotherapy for all SF-36 subscales. After 1 year, the reference value of healthy women was reached in both groups. Small differences were observed between the two groups in the role-physical and role-emotional subscales, but 1 year after treatment, these differences were minor and not clinically relevant. During follow-up, patients with a lower educational level and many complaints before chemotherapy experienced a worse HRQOL. Conclusion: Shortly after high-dose chemotherapy, HRQOL was more affected than after conventional-dose chemotherapy. One year after random assignment, differences were negligible. Identifying patients who have a higher chance of persistent impaired quality of life after treatment (which, in the present study, included patients with a lower educational level and many complaints before chemotherapy) is important and may open the way for better patient-tailored prevention strategies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research