Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Health-related quality of life and risk of colorectal cancer recurrence and All-cause death among advanced stages of colorectal cancer 1-year after diagnosis

Carlos KH Wong1*, Wai-Lun Law2, Yuk-Fai Wan1, Jensen Tung-Chung Poon2 and Cindy Lo-Kuen Lam1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, The University of Hong Kong, 3/F, Ap Lei Chau Clinic, 161 Ap Lei Chau Main Street, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong

2 Department of Surgery, The University of Hong Kong, 2/F, Professorial Block, Queen Mary Hospital, 102 Pokfulam Road, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:337  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-337

Published: 17 May 2014



The study aimed to examine the association between health-related quality of life (HRQOL) assessed with overall survival (OS) and recurrence after diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC).


Overall 160 patients with advanced stage CRC were recruited in an observational study and completed the generic and condition-specific HRQOL questionnaires at the colorectal specialist outpatient clinic in Hong Kong, between 10/2009 and 07/2010. Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics including duration since diagnosis, primary tumor location and treatment modality, were collected to serve as predictor variables in regression models. All-cause death or CRC recurrence was the event of interest. Association between HRQOL with OS was assessed using Cox regression. Association between HRQOL and CRC recurrence was further modeled by competing-risks regression adjusted for the competing-risks of death from any cause.


After a median follow-up of 23 months, there were 22 (16.1%) incidents of CRC recurrence and 15 (9.4%) deaths. Decreased physical functioning (hazard ratios, HR = 0.917, 95% CI:0.889-0.981) and general health of domains in SF-12 (HR = 0.846, 95% CI:0.746-0.958) or SF-6D scores (HR = 0.010, 95% CI:0.000-0.573) were associated with an increased risk of death, with adjustment of patients’ characteristics. Increased vitality (HR = 1.151, 95% CI:1.027-1.289) and mental health (HR = 1.128, 95% CI:1.005-1.265) were associated with an increased likelihood of death. In models adjusted for competing-risk of death, those with worse HRQOL was not associated with increased risk of CRC recurrence.


Although self-reported HRQOL was not a significant prognostic factor for CRC recurrence, the HRQOL provided independent prognostic value about mortality in patients with advanced stage of CRC.

Quality of life; Colorectal cancer; Prognosis; Survival; Recurrence; Competing risks