Quality of life in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: An international survey of 1482 patients

Tait D. Shanafelt, Deborah Bowen, Chaya Venkat, Susan L. Slager, Clive S. Zent, Neil E. Kay, Megan Reinalda, Jeff A. Sloan, Timothy G. Call

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Although a diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can have a profound effect on the quality of life (QOL), few studies have objectively measured the QOL of CLL patients or compared it to the general population. We conducted an international, web-based survey of patients with CLL using standardized instruments with published population norms to evaluate fatigue and QOL. Co-morbid health conditions were assessed using the Charlson Co-Morbidity Index. Between June and October 2006, 1482 patients with CLL responded to the survey. The physical, social/family, functional, and overall QOL scores of CLL patients were similar to or better than published population norms. In contrast, the emotional well-being scores of CLL patients were dramatically lower than that of both the general population (P < 0.001) and patients with other types of cancer (P < 0.001). QOL scores were lower among individuals with advanced stage disease (all P < 0.05). Factors associated with lower overall QOL on multivariate analysis included older age, greater fatigue, severity of co-morbid health conditions, and current treatment. CLL has a profound impact on QOL at all disease stages. The effects of CLL on QOL appear to differ from that of other malignancies with a more marked impact on emotional QOL. Research identifying efficacious psycho-oncologic support interventions for patients with CLL is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-264
Number of pages10
JournalBritish journal of haematology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Co-morbid health problems
  • Emotional distress
  • Fatigue
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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