An international update of the EORTC questionnaire for assessing quality of life in breast cancer patients: EORTC QLQ-BR45

EORTC Quality of Life Group and Breast Cancer Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-BR23 was one of the first disease-specific questionnaires developed in 1996 to assess quality of life (QoL) in patients with breast cancer (BC). However, since 1996 major changes in BC treatment have occurred, requiring an update of the EORTC BC module. This study presents the results of the phase I–III update of the QLQ-BR23 questionnaire. Patients and methods: The update of the EORTC QLQ-BR23 module followed standard EORTC guidelines. A systematic literature review revealed 83 potential relevant QoL issues during phases I and II. After shortening the issues list and following interviews with patients and health care providers, 15 relevant issues were transformed into 27 items. The preliminary module was pretested in an international, multicentre phase III study to identify and solve potential problems with wording comprehensibility and acceptability of the items. Descriptive statistics are provided. Analyses were qualitative and quantitative. We provide a psychometric structure of the items. Results: The phase I and II results indicated the need to supplement the original QLQ-BR23 with additional items related to newer therapeutic options. The phase III study recruited a total of 250 patients (from 12 countries). The final updated phase III module contains a total of 45 items: 23 items from the QLQ-BR23 and 22 new items. The new items contain two multi-item scales: a target symptom scale and a satisfaction scale. The target symptom scale can be divided into three subscales: endocrine therapy, endocrine sexual and skin/mucosa scale. Conclusion: Our work has led to the development of a new EORTC QLQ-BR45 module that provides a more accurate and comprehensive assessment of the impact of new and scalable treatments on patients' QoL. The final version of the EORTC QLQ-BR45 is currently available for use in clinical practice. The final phase IV study is underway to confirm psychometric properties of the module.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-288
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number2
Early online date6 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

The acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.


  • breast cancer
  • module development
  • patient-reported outcome (PRO)
  • quality of life


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