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Quality of life in adult hematopoietic cell transplant patients at least 5 yr after treatment: a comparison with healthy controls


Martin Kopp PhD, Department of General Psychiatry, Innsbruck Medical University, Anichstreet 35, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Tel: (43) 512 504 24253/23636
Fax: (43) 512 504 24249


Abstract: Background and objective: As long-term survivors of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) become more numerous, studies addressing the issue of long-term follow-up are necessary. In this study, we report on the quality of life (QOL) of HCT-patients, who were alive at least at 5 yr after transplantation in comparison to an age- and sex-matched sample of healthy controls assessed in the same time-period and the same geographical region. Design and methods: The European Group of Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)-QOL Questionnaire (EORTC-QLQ C30) was sent by post to 39 HCT-survivors. Thirty-four patients answered the questionnaire. Patients were compared with 68 healthy controls from the same geographical region. Patients and controls completed the EORTC in the same time period. Results: Mann–Whitney U-tests identified significantly lower QOL on the dimensions of physical and social functioning and on the financial impact symptom scale. Conclusions: Patients who had survived their HCT for more than 5 yr did generally well in terms of global QOL. This is consistent with Kiss et al. (J Clin Oncol 2002;20:2334–2343), who found that chronic myeloid leukemia patients who were alive at least 10 yr after HCT report lower physical functioning in comparison to healthy controls. Problems in the areas of social functioning and financial difficulty can possibly be addressed by intensive rehabilitation processes integrating patients, family members and significant others. Interdisciplinary (medical, psychological and social) treatment of patients should not come to an end after the acute phase of the illness but should continue during check-ups following transplantation.