Health-related quality of life in paediatric patients up to five years post-treatment completion for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: a systematic review

Andrew Garas, Louise A. McLean, Cinzia R. De Luca, Peter Downie, Maria C. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Despite survival rates greater than 90%, treatment for paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) remains challenging for families. The early post-treatment phase is an especially unique time of adjustment. The primary aim of this review was to identify and synthesise research on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) for patients up to five years post-treatment. The secondary aim was to identify if theorised risk/resistance model factors could explain any variance in reported HRQoL. Methods: We conducted a systematic review using the PRISMA guidelines across five databases: Embase, Medline, Psychinfo, Pubmed, and Cochrane. Only studies examining HRQoL up to five years post-treatment were included. Studies were excluded if they covered periods greater than five years post-treatment or did not differentiate between patients with ALL and other cancers. After assessing the quality of each study sample size, patient characteristics, HRQoL outcomes and HRQoL correlates were extracted and summarised. Results: A total of 14 studies representing 1254 paediatric patients, aged 2–18 years, were found. HRQoL findings were mixed, dependent on time since completion and comparison group. Patient HRQoL was mostly lower compared to normative data, whilst higher compared to healthy control groups, patients on treatment, and patients with other types of cancers. Lower HRQoL was also found to be associated with demographic (age and sex), family dysfunction, and treatment-related factors. Conclusions: Completing treatment signalled a significant improvement in HRQoL for patients compared to being on treatment. Overall, however, HRQoL was still significantly lower than the population during the early post-treatment period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4341-4351
Number of pages11
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Health-related quality of life
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
  • Systematic review
  • Post-treatment completion
  • Paediatric cancer

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