A closer look at quality of life in the hepatocellular carcinoma literature

Jenny L. Firkins, Robin Tarter, Martha Driessnack, Lissi Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Adults with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have a high symptom burden. Their quality of life (QOL) has been shown to be significantly impacted by both the disease and its treatment, adding to the high symptom burden that these patients experience. The primary aims of this paper are as follows: (1) to identify how QOL is being defined in HCC literature and (2) to identify how QOL is being measured in the HCC literature using Ferrell’s model of QOL. Methods: A systematic review was completed of relevant studies published after 2014, using PubMed, CINHAL, and PsycInfo. Relevant studies were reviewed by 2 reviewers using PRISMA guidelines. Results: From a total of 1312 papers obtained in the initial database search, 30 met inclusion criteria and are included in this review. From the included articles, 10% included a definition of QOL and 3% addressed the spiritual domain of QOL. Majority of study participants were in the early stage of HCC, though the majority of adults with HCC are diagnosed in the advanced stage. Only 3% of included studies included greater than 22% population of advanced stage of HCC. Conclusion: The results of this systematic review demonstrate the need for future research into QOL in the advanced stage of QOL. It also identified gap in the literature concerning the definition of QOL in HCC and the spiritual domain of QOL in HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1525-1535
Number of pages11
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Ferrell model of quality of life
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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