Identifying health-related quality of life cut-off scores that indicate the need for supportive care in young adults with cancer.



Three hundred and forty-seven YAs took part in the survey. Six experts matched SCNS-LF59 items to ten EORTC QLQ-C30 domains. The AUC ranged from 0.78 to 0.87. Cut-offs selected ranged from 8 (Nausea and Vomiting and Pain) to 97 (Physical Functioning). All had adequate sensitivity (above 0.70) except the Financial Difficulties scale (0.64). Specificity ranged from 0.61 to 0.88. Four of the cut-off scores differed by treatment status.


Cut-offs with adequate sensitivity were calculated for nine EORTC QLQ-C30 scales for use with YAs with cancer. Cut-offs are key to interpretability and use of the EORTC QLQ-C30 in routine care to identify patients with supportive care need.


We conducted a cross-sectional survey amongst YAs with cancer ages 25-39 at diagnosis. Participants completed the EORTC QLQ-C30 and SCNS-LF59. Patient, clinician and research experts matched supportive care needs from the SCNS-LF59 to quality of life domains of the EORTC QLQ-C30. We evaluated the EORTC QLQ-C30 domain score's ability to detect patients with need using receiver operator characteristic (ROC) analysis, calculating the area under the ROC curve and sensitivity and specificity for selected cut-offs. Cut-offs were chosen by maximising Youden's J statistic and ensuring sensitivity passed 0.70. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to examine the variability of the cut-off scores by treatment status.


Using patient-reported outcomes in routine cancer care may improve health outcomes. However, a lack of information about which scores are problematic in specific populations can impede use. To facilitate interpretation of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30), we identified cut-off scores that indicate need for support by comparing each scale to relevant items from the Supportive Care Needs Survey (SCNS-LF59) in a young adult (YA) population.

More about this publication

Quality of life research : an international journal of quality of life aspects of treatment, care and rehabilitation
  • Volume 31
  • Issue nr. 9
  • Pages 2717-2727
  • Publication date 01-09-2022

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