The EORTC CAT Core-The computer adaptive version of the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire

Morten Aa Petersen (Corresponding Author), Neil K Aaronson, Juan I Arraras, Wei-Chu Chie, Thierry Conroy, Anna Costantini, Linda Dirven, Peter Fayers, Eva-Maria Gamper, Johannes M Giesinger, Esther J J Habets, Eva Hammerlid, Jorunn Helbostad, Marianne J Hjermstad, Bernhard Holzner, Colin Johnson, Georg Kemmler, Madeleine T King, Stein Kaasa, Jon H LogeJaap C Reijneveld, Susanne Singer, Martin J B Taphoorn, Lise H Thamsborg, Krzysztof A Tomaszewski, Galina Velikova, Irma M Verdonck-de Leeuw, Teresa Young, Mogens Groenvold, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Group

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62 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: To optimise measurement precision, relevance to patients and flexibility, patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) should ideally be adapted to the individual patient/study while retaining direct comparability of scores across patients/studies. This is achievable using item banks and computerised adaptive tests (CATs). The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 (QLQ-C30) is one of the most widely used PROMs in cancer research and clinical practice. Here we provide an overview of the research program to develop CAT versions of the QLQ-C30's 14 functional and symptom domains.

METHODS: The EORTC Quality of Life Group's strategy for developing CAT item banks consists of: literature search to identify potential candidate items; formulation of new items compatible with the QLQ-C30 item style; expert evaluations and patient interviews; field-testing and psychometric analyses, including factor analysis, item response theory calibration and simulation of measurement properties. In addition, software for setting up, running and scoring CAT has been developed.

RESULTS: Across eight rounds of data collections, 9782 patients were recruited from 12 countries for the field-testing. The four phases of development resulted in a total of 260 unique items across the 14 domains. Each item bank consists of 7-34 items. Psychometric evaluations indicated higher measurement precision and increased statistical power of the CAT measures compared to the QLQ-C30 scales. Using CAT, sample size requirements may be reduced by approximately 20-35% on average without loss of power.

CONCLUSIONS: The EORTC CAT Core represents a more precise, powerful and flexible measurement system than the QLQ-C30. It is currently being validated in a large independent, international sample of cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Early online date21 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

The study was funded by the EORTC Quality of Life Group (grant no. 005-2007). The work of Johannes M. Giesinger was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF #P26930).


  • computerized adaptive test
  • health related quality of life
  • item response theory
  • item development
  • item banking
  • patient-reported outcomes


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