Long-term colon cancer survivors show great heterogeneity in their health-related quality of life. This study identified five distinct clusters of survivors with similar patterns of health-related quality of life and showed that these clusters remain stable over time. It was also shown that these clusters do not significantly differ in tumor characteristics or received treatment. Cluster membership of long-term survivors can be identified by sociodemographic characteristics but is not predetermined by diagnosis and treatment.
Long-term colon cancer survivors present heterogeneous health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes. We determined unobserved subgroups (classes) of survivors with similar HRQOL patterns and investigated their stability over time and the association of clinical covariates with these classes.
The identified classes are characterized by distinct patterns of HRQOL and can support patient-centered care. LCA and LTA are powerful tools for investigating HRQOL in cancer survivors.
Data from the population-based PROFILES registry were used. Included were survivors with nonmetastatic (TNM stage I-III) colon cancer (n = 1,489). HRQOL was assessed with the Dutch translation of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire C30 version 3.0. Based on survivors' HRQOL, latent class analysis (LCA) was used to identify unobserved classes of survivors. Moreover, latent transition analysis (LTA) was used to investigate changes in class membership over time. Furthermore, the effect of covariates on class membership was assessed using multinomial logistic regression.
LCA identified five classes at baseline: class 1, excellent HRQOL (n = 555, 37.3%); class 2, good HRQOL with prevalence of insomnia (n = 464, 31.2%); class 3, moderate HRQOL with prevalence of fatigue (n = 213, 14.3%); class 4, good HRQOL with physical limitations (n = 134, 9.0%); and class 5, poor HRQOL (n = 123, 8.3%). All classes were stable with high self-transition probabilities. Longer time since the diagnosis, no comorbid conditions, and male sex were associated with class 1, whereas older age was associated with class 4. Clinical covariates were not associated with class membership.