Minimally important differences for interpreting the EORTC QLQ-C30 in advanced colorectal cancer patients treated with chemotherapy

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Dis. 2020 Aug 7. doi: 10.1111/codi.15295. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30) assesses health related quality of life of patients in cancer trials. There are currently no minimally important difference (MID) guidelines for the EORTC QLQ-C30 for colorectal cancer (CRC).

METHODS: The data were obtained from three published EORTC trials that treated CRC patients using chemotherapy. Potential anchors were selected from clinical variables based on their correlation with EORTC QLQ-C30 scales. Anchor-based MIDs for within-group change and between-group change were estimated via mean change method and linear regression respectively and summarized using weighted correlation. Distribution-based MIDs were also examined.

RESULTS: Anchor-based MIDs were determined for deterioration in 8 of the 14 EORTC QLQ-C30 scales, and in 9 scales for improvement, and varied by scale, direction of change and anchor. MIDs for improvement (deterioration) ranged from 6 to 18 (-11 to -5) points for within-group change and 5 to 15 (-10 to -4) for between-group change. Summarized MIDs (in absolute values) per scale mostly ranged from 5 to 10 points.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings have clinical relevance for the interpretation of treatment efficacy and the design of clinical trials by informing sample size requirements.