Aim: Colorectal anastomotic leakage (AL) is a serious complication. Studies on the impact of AL on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) are scarce. We aimed to investigate the association between AL and HRQoL in colorectal cancer patients up to 2 years after diagnosis, and to evaluate whether AL is associated with a clinically relevant decrease in HRQoL over time. Methods: Patients diagnosed with Stage I–III colorectal cancer undergoing elective surgical resection with primary anastomosis between 2010 and 2017 were included. HRQoL was evaluated using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire C30, represented by the summary score, and analysed at diagnosis and at 6 months and 2 years post-diagnosis. Multivariable linear regression was performed to assess the association between AL and HRQoL, while multivariable logistic regression was used to investigate the association between AL and a clinically relevant HRQoL decrease (≥10 points) during follow-up compared to the time of diagnosis. Results: In total, 1197 patients were included of whom 63 (5%) developed AL. AL was not associated with HRQoL at 6 months post-diagnosis nor at 2 years post-diagnosis. However, having AL was associated with an increased risk of a clinically relevant decrease in HRQoL at 6 months post-diagnosis (OR 3.65, 95% CI 1.62–8.21) but not at 2 years after diagnosis (OR 1.91, 95% CI 0.62–5.93). Conclusion: Although AL was not associated with HRQoL at 6 months or 2 years post-diagnosis, AL was a determinant of a clinically relevant decrease in HRQoL at 6 months after diagnosis. Future work should identify feasible and effective strategies to prevent declines in QoL in this patient population.
|Early online date||2023|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 2023|