Health-related quality of life in chronic myeloid leukemia patients receiving long-term therapy with imatinib compared with the general population

Fabio Efficace, Michele Baccarani, Massimo Breccia, Giuliana Alimena, Gianantonio Rosti, Francesco Cottone, Giorgio Lambertenghi Deliliers, Claudia Baratè, Antonella Russo Rossi, Giuseppe Fioritoni, Luigia Luciano, Diamante Turri, Bruno Martino, Francesco Di Raimondo, Melissa Dabusti, Micaela Bergamaschi, Pietro Leoni, Maria Pina Simula, Luciano Levato, Stefano Ulisciani, Dino Veneri, Simona Sica, Alessandro Rambaldi, Marco Vignetti and Franco Mandelli


The main objective of this study was to investigate whether patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in treatment with long term therapy Imatinib (IM) have a different health related quality of life (HRQOL) profile when compared with the general population. In total 448 CML patients were enrolled and the SF-36 Health Survey was used to compare generic HRQOL profiles; symptoms were also assessed. HRQOL comparisons were adjusted for key possible confounders. The median age of patients was 57 years and the median time of IM treatment was five years (range 3 to 9 years). The largest HRQOL differences were found in younger patients. In particular, patients aged between 18 and 39 years had marked impairments in role limitations due to physical and emotional problems, respectively: -22.6 (P<0.001), -22.3 (P<0.001). Patients with CML aged 60 or above had a HRQOL profile very similar to that reported by the general population. Women had a worse profile than men when each were compared with their peers in the general population. Fatigue was the most frequently reported symptom. The HRQOL of CML patients is comparable to that of population norms in many areas, however, younger and female patients seem to report the major limitations.

  • Submitted April 8, 2011.
  • Accepted June 20, 2011.