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18-05-2016 | Colorectal cancer | Article

Comparison of the FACT-C, EORTC QLQ-CR38, and QLQ-CR29 quality of life questionnaires for patients with colorectal cancer: a literature review

Supportive Care in Cancer

Authors: Vithusha Ganesh, Arnav Agarwal, Marko Popovic, David Cella, Rachel McDonald, Sherlyn Vuong, Henry Lam, Leigha Rowbottom, Stephanie Chan, Tasneem Barakat, Carlo DeAngelis, Michael Borean, Edward Chow, Andrew Bottomley

Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg



The purpose of this review was to compare the development, characteristics, validity, and reliability of three widely used quality of life (QOL) assessment tools used in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients: the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Colorectal (FACT-C), the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire Colorectal Cancer Module (QLQ-CR38) and its successor, the QLQ-CR29.


A literature search was conducted using Ovid EMBASE and EMBASE Classic (1996–2015 Week 39), Ovid MEDLINE and OLDMEDLINE (1996 September Week 4 2015), and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (up to August 2015) to identify studies that discussed the FACT-C, EORTC QLQ-CR38, and QLQ-CR29 including, but not limited to, their development, characteristics, validity, and reliability.


The FACT-C consists of 36 items, presented on a 5-point Likert scale, in four domains of well-being (physical, emotional, social, and functional), and the Colorectal Cancer Subscale (CCS). The physical and social well-being scales showed reasonable internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha coefficient > 60) in all studied populations. The EORTC QLQ-CR38 (38 items) and the QLQ-CR29 (29 items) are implemented in conjunction with the core QLQ-C30 (30 items); all are presented in 4-point Likert scales. Seven scales in the QLQ-CR38 demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha coefficient > 0.70). In the QLQ-CR29, three scales had a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of less than 0.70.


The FACT-C, QLQ-CR38, and QLQ-CR29 have been extensively validated. However, analysis of their characteristics, validity, and reliability suggest differing suitability in assessing QOL in specific clinical situations.

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