Impact of dermatologic adverse events on quality of life in 283 cancer patients: A questionnaire study in a dermatology referral clinic

Alyx C. Rosen, Emily C. Case, Stephen W. Dusza, Yevgeniy Balagula, Jennifer Gordon, Dennis P. West, Mario E. Lacouture

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Background: Anticancer therapies cause a wide range of dermatologic adverse events (AE). Although the frequency and severity of these events have been described, their effects on health-related quality of life (QoL) remain poorly understood, and the ones having a greater impact have not been ascertained. Objective: To assess QoL in patients on conventional versus targeted anti-cancer therapies using a dermatology-specific questionnaire. Methods: Patients (n = 283) completed the Skindex-16, a QoL questionnaire measuring the effects on three domains: symptoms, emotions, and function. Patients were grouped into two categories according to the types of oncology treatments received: (1) targeted therapies and (2) non-targeted therapies. Correlations of Skindex-16 scores with type of anti-cancer therapy, number of AEs, and specific dermatologic AEs were investigated. Results: Significant differences between patients treated with targeted versus non-targeted therapy with regards to total Skindex-16 (p = 0.02) and emotion subdomain (p = 0.02) scores were observed. Additionally, patients on targeted therapies experienced a significantly greater number of AEs (p < 0.001) compared with patients on non-targeted therapies. Patients who exhibited epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor-induced rash had higher Skindex-16 scores (p = 0.009) and higher scores in the symptom (p < 0.001), emotion (p = 0.01), and function (p = 0.001) subdomains than patients without this AE. Similar results were observed for pruritus. All p values were two sided. Conclusions: Dermatologic AEs are associated with a diminished QoL. Targeted therapies are associated with a significantly increased number of AEs and worse total and emotion Skindex-16 scores in comparison with non-targeted therapies. EGFR inhibitor rash and pruritus produced the greatest negative impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-333
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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