The Association of Pretreatment Health-Related Quality of Life with Surgical Complications for Patients Undergoing Open Surgical Resection for Colorectal Cancer

Thomas Anthony, Linda S. Hynan, Douglas Rosen, Lawrence Kim, Fiemu Nwariaku, Charlene Jones, George Sarosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to define the association between pretreatment health-related quality of life (HRQL) and surgical complications for patients with colorectal cancer. Summary Background Data: For patients with colorectal cancer, surgical complications arise from an interaction between underlying medical comorbidity, colorectal cancer severity, and quality and type of treatment provided. Measurement of HRQL provides a summarization of well-being in the context of medical comorbidity and colorectal cancer severity. The summarization of these factors may be useful in prospective risk assessment of patients about to undergo surgery for colorectal cancer. Methods: A single-institution, prospective, cohort study of patients with colorectal adenocarcinoma was performed from August 1, 1999, to March 31, 2002. Before treatment, all participants completed Medical Outcomes Survey SF-36 (SF-36); after the first year of the study, patients also completed the colorectal cancer module of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy survey (FACT-C). Information was collected on demographics, treatment, tumor variables, and complications. Results: Ninety-seven patients have undergone open resection of their colorectal cancer. All patients completed SF-36; 65 completed FACT-C. Thirty patients (31%) experienced complications, including 4 (4%) deaths. Age, race, albumin level, American Society of Anesthesia class, specialty surgical training, tumor location, and stage were not associated with complications in univariate analysis. Patients experiencing surgical complications had significantly lower HRQL scores on SF-36 Social Functioning, General Health Perception, and Mental Health Index scales as well as the Mental Health Component summary score. FACT-C Social/Family, Emotional, Functional Well-Being scores, and the Colorectal Cancer Concerns score were also significantly lower for patients sustaining complications. When these HRQL scales were examined in a multivariate model including albumin level, tumor location, and ASA class, SF-36 Social Functioning (Odds Ratio [OR] = 0.98; 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 0.97-0.99) and FACT-C Colorectal Cancer Concerns (OR = 0.89; 95% CI = 0.79-0.99) scales retained a significant association with complications. Conclusions: Pretreatment HRQL scores as measured by several scales of SF-36 and FACT-C were significantly associated with complications. Future studies should concentrate on defining the predictive role of HRQL in determining surgical outcome for patients with colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-696
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2003


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