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

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Purpose: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusion: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3661-3668
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Colorectal cancer
  • FACT-C
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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