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Cancer Australia QOL Office: Introducing a Utility Measure Based on the QLQ-C30

A utility measure based on the QLQ-C30 has been developed by an international team led by Professor Madeleine King (of Cancer Australia’s Quality of Life Technical Services) and Professor Rosalie Viney (of CREST).

The EORTC QLQ-C30 is one of the most commonly used quality of life (QOL) measures in cancer clinical trials internationally, so will be familiar to many ALTG  members. It contains 30 questions assessing common cancer symptoms, functioning and global QOL. It therefore provides a comprehensive assessment of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) that are important to patients and their health care providers. However, as originally designed, the QLQ-C30 cannot be used in health economic analysis because it is not a preference-based measure (or utility measure).

The most common utility measures are the EQ-5D, HUI3 and SF-6D. Although these measures are widely used, they are generic, and therefore may not be particularly sensitive when used in cancer populations. Further, the use of several questionnaires (e.g. QLQ-C30 for QoL endpoints and EQ-5D for health economics) adds to PRO completion time and patient burden.

An international team led by Professor Madeleine King (of Cancer Australia’s Quality of Life Technical Services) and Professor Rosalie Viney (of CREST) has spent the last 4 years, funded by an NHMRC project grant, developing a utility measure from the QLQ-C30. It is called the QLU-C10D: ‘QLU’ indicates it is a utility measure; ‘C’ indicates its origin in the EORTC’s core questionnaire; ‘10D’ indicates 10 domains (mobility, role functioning, social functioning, emotional functioning, pain, fatigue, sleep, appetite, nausea, bowel problems). It was endorsed by the EORTC QOL Group Executive Committee in 2014. This means that the QLQ-C30 can now be administered to obtain both QOL endpoints and utility scores. This not only reduces patient burden, but has the potential to reduce trial costs associated with PROs, including staff time, printing, data entry, scoring and analysis.

While the QLU-C10D is not quite ready for prime time yet, it will be very soon, and can certainly be included in clinical trials in development now. It can also be used retrospectively for health economic modelling of trials that are closed to recruitment (if they used the QLQ-C30). For more details about this study, please contact the QOL Office (mailto:qol.office@sydney.edu.au).