Item response theory was used to shorten EORTC QLQ-C30 scales for use in palliative care.

M. A. Petersen, M. Groenvold, N. K. Aaronson, J. M. Blazeby, Y. Brandberg, A de Graeff, Peter Fayers, E. Hammerlid, M. A. G. Sprangers, G. Velikova, J. Bjorner, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Group

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Background and Objective: The goal was to develop a shortened version of the EORTC QLQ-C30 for use in palliative care. We wanted to keep as few items as possible in each scale while still being able to compare results with studies using the original scales. We examined the possibilities of shortening the physical functioning, cognitive functioning, fatigue, and nausea and vomiting scales.

Study Design and Setting: The shortening was based on 2,366 (physical functioning) and 10,815 (three other scales) observations, respectively. We used item response theory to construct scoring algorithms for predicting scores on the original scales.

Results: Evaluations showed that a three-item physical scale, a two-item fatigue scale, and a one-item nausea or vomiting scale predicted the scores on the original scales with excellent agreement and had measurement abilities similar to the original scales with no loss or only a little loss in power to detect group differences. The results of the cognitive functioning scale indicated problems when predicting scores from a shortened version.

Conclusion: Given the favorable results for the physical functioning, fatigue, and nausea or vomiting scales we expect that the shortened versions of these scales will be included in the abbreviated version of the EORTC QLQ-C30 for palliative care. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number1
Early online date12 Sept 2005
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by grants from the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Group. The study was based on data contributed by the following individuals: Neil Aaronson, Amsterdam, The
Netherlands; Marianne Ahlner-Elmqvist, Malmo, Sweden; Juan I. Arraras, Pamplona, Spain; Jane Blazeby, Bristol, UK; Yvonne Brandberg, Stockholm, Sweden; Anne Bredart, Paris, France; Elisabeth Brenne, Trondheim, Norway; Thierry Conroy, Vandoeuvre les Nancy, France; Ann Cull, Edinburgh, UK; Alexander de Graeff, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Mogens Groenvold, Copenhagen,
Denmark; Eva Hammerlid, Go¨teborg, Sweden; Marianne Hjermstad, Oslo, Norway; Marit Jordhoy, Trondheim, Norway; Marianne Sullivan, Goteborg, Sweden; Galina Velikova, Leeds, UK; Craig Vickery, Exeter, UK; Maggie Watson, Sutton, UK; Teresa Young, Middlesex, UK.


  • IRT
  • scales
  • multi-item
  • palliative care
  • quality of life
  • shortening


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