Health-Related Quality of Life After Cancer Diagnosis in Adolescents/Young Adults


Key Points

  • Health-related quality of life improved over time but remained impaired at 24 months in adolescent/young adult patients with cancer.
  • The greatest improvement was seen during the first 12 months of follow-up.

In a longitudinal study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Husson et al found that health-related quality of life improved between diagnosis and 2 years after diagnosis in adolescent/young adult (AYA) patients with cancer, but it remained impaired compared with population norms.

Study Details

The study involved 176 patients aged 15 to 39 years with various cancers from 5 U.S. institutions who completed the Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36) within 4 months after diagnosis and at 12 and 24 months later. The SF-36 summary physical component scale (PCS) and mental component scale (MCS) scores were converted to T scores ranging from 0 to 100, with a higher score indicating better health-related quality of life.

Changes Over Time

At baseline, AYA patients had significantly poorer mean PCS scores (38.7 vs 52.9, P < .001) and MCS scores (42.9 vs 48.9, P < .001) vs population norms (ages 18–40 years). AYA patients had significant improvements in PCS and MCS scores from baseline at 12 months (45.9, P < .001, for PCS; 46.4, P = .002, for MCS) and at 24 months (48.0, P < .001; 45.8, P = .007), with the increase being greatest between baseline and 12 months (P values for 12- to 24-month change = .07 for PCS and .24 for MCS).

PCS (P < .001) and MCS scores (P = .002) remained significantly lower than population norms at 24 months. On multivariable analysis, improvements in PCS and MCS scores were significantly associated with being off treatment and being involved in school/work.

The investigators concluded: “Although [health-related quality of life] improved over time, it was still compromised 24 months after primary diagnosis. Given relatively little observed improvement in [health-related quality of life] during the 12- to 24-month period after diagnosis, AYA patients may benefit from supportive care interventions administered during the second year after diagnosis.”

The study was supported by a fellowship from the Dutch Cancer Society and HopeLab Foundation, Redwood City.

Olga Husson, PhD, of Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands, is the corresponding author of the Journal of Clinical Oncology article.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.