Health-related quality of life in survivors of lymphoma: a systematic review and methodological critique.
Survival rates for Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma have improved in recent years. However, these improvements are associated with various late effects, which can compromise health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Improving HRQoL is a significant goal in oncology, and increasingly one of the primary outcomes in clinical trials, but is dependent on availability of reliable and sensitive measures. This review therefore aimed to: (i) identify and evaluate commonly used HRQoL measures; (ii) compare HRQoL in patients with lymphoma with the general population; and assess the association between (iii) HRQoL and different treatments; and (iv) HRQoL and demographic, medical, and psychological variables. Standardized systematic searches identified 18 eligible studies that included adult survivors of lymphoma and reported quantitative results by histological diagnosis. Information about design, sample, measures and findings was extracted from each study. Survivors of lymphoma experienced worse physical but comparable mental HRQoL to the general population. No conclusions could be drawn about the association between different treatments and HRQoL. Correlates of better HRQoL included younger age, educational level, being employed, male gender, earlier stage disease, not having co-morbid illnesses, and meeting public health exercise guidelines. Limitations of current research relating to research design, sample demographics, and reporting of descriptive statistics were identified. Given the increasing numbers of patients living with lymphoma, controlled studies using appropriate measures are required to determine the HRQoL consequences associated with the condition.