Reference data of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-CIPN20 Questionnaire in the general Dutch population

Floortje Mols*, Lonneke V. van de Poll-Franse, Gerard Vreugdenhil, Antoinetta J. Beijers, Jacobien M. Kieffer, Neil K. Aaronson, Olga Husson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Web of Science)


Objective: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a debilitating side-effect of chemotherapy. However, CIPN symptoms are also reported by patients not receiving chemotherapy. Normative data could help interpret CIPN among cancer patients. Our aim was to generate normative data for the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-CIPN20 Questionnaire designed to assess CIPN from the patients' perspective. The normative CIPN data have also been generated for stratified subgroups formed on the basis of sex, age and comorbidity.
Methods: The QLQ-CIPN20 and the Self-administered Comorbidity Questionnaire were administered to a representative panel of the Dutch-speaking population in the Netherlands.
Results: Two thousand one hundred and two (78%) of those invited completed the questionnaires. The majority reported no CIPN symptoms (83–97%). Cronbach's alpha coefficients for the sum score, and sensory, motor and autonomic subscales were 0.87, 0.76, 0.82 and 0.49, respectively. Compared with men, women scored significantly worse on the sum score (men, 3.0 versus women, 4.3; p < 0.001), motor scale (2.7 versus 5.1; p < 0.001) and autonomic scale (3.8 versus 5.2; p < 0.01), but this difference was not clinically relevant. CIPN symptoms increased significantly with age among both men (for the sum score and all scales) and women (for the sum score, sensory and motor scale). Those with self-reported comorbidities reported significantly more CIPN symptoms, both statistically and clinically, than those without. For instance, they had a lower mean sum score (1.5) compared to those with asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; 6.9), diabetes (5.9), heart disease (8.0), hypertension (6.2), osteoarthritis (9.6) and rheumatoid arthritis (13.8).
Conclusions: A low prevalence of neuropathy was observed in the normative population without cancer, although neuropathy did increase with age and the presence of comorbidities. These data (which is freely available) can aid in the interpretation of QLQ-CIPN20 scores and can help increase our understanding of the influence of age, sex and comorbid conditions on CIPN among cancer patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-38
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Normative data

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