Quality of life and sexual function after high-dose or conventional chemotherapy for high-risk breast cancer

Anglo Celtic Co-operative Oncology Group, K M Malinovszky, A Gould, E Foster, D Cameron, A Humphreys, J Crown, R C F Leonard

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Three hundred and ninety women participated in the quality of life (QL) study of ACCOG1, a high-dose vs conventional adjuvant chemotherapy breast cancer trial, for patients with a high risk of relapse. Patients completed the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30, questions on menopausal symptoms and the Sexual Activity Questionnaire. Pretreatment, 6,12, 24, 36, 48 and 60-month assessments were conducted. For the high dose group the median decrease in global QL at 6 months was significantly greater than in the conventional group. At 12 months, however, the median change had returned to 0 for both groups. Social functioning was also significantly lower in the high-dose group at 6 months, again returning to prebaseline levels for both groups after 12 months. The most persistent changes appear to be in the effect of treatment in both arms on sexual outcomes, reflected in problems with discomfort and pleasure. Both high-dose and conventional chemotherapy showed persisting negative effects on sexual health. This has not been previously reported as a long-term complication of high-dose chemotherapy. However, it did not have long-term affects on sexual habit, which appeared to return to pretreatment frequency and similar to that of conventional chemotherapy by about 12 months from treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1626-31
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2006


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Questionnaires
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Time Factors


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