The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer is a non-profit organization. To drive research in the field of oncology, they began developing an integrative, modular Quality of Life Questionnaire as a Patient-Reported Outcome (PRO) instrument in 1986. They published it in 1993 under the name EORTC QLQ-C30 as the EORTC Core Quality of Life Questionnaire.1

EORTC QLQ-C30 Questionnaire Content

The EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire contains 30 questions and assesses the quality of life of oncological patients multidimensionally over 10 subscales. Since oncology has a broad spectrum of tumor diseases and thus clinical pictures, it is, however, counted among the rather non-disease-specific questionnaires. However, in order to also consider oncological patients in a disease-specific way, further suitable modules were developed as PRO instruments for the QLQ C30, depending on the tumor disease. For example, there is the QLQ BR23 for patients with breast carcinoma or QLQ PR25 for patients with prostate carcinoma.2-3

10 sub-scales of the EORTC QLQ-C30

I. Functional sub-scales

Physical function

Role function

Cognitive function

Emotional function

II. Symptom sub-scales



Nausea and vomiting

III. Other sub-scales

Global health status

Quality of life

EORTC QLQ-C30 Evaluation

All sub-scales and the 6 individual items have a score range from 0 to 100 points. A higher score represents better function and a higher quality of life. In the symptom subscale, however, a higher score represents a higher level of symptoms or problems. Since there is no total score, all subscales and the individual items must be considered individually and evaluated using normative data.

The QLQ-C30 is evaluated as follows:

1 The answers must be assigned their predefined scores.

2 Calculation of the raw score

a. Summation of all response scores of a sub-scale

b. Division by number n of response options

3 Linear transformation

a. Note the range for each sub-scale: Range = maximum possible answer score of the questions minimum possible answer score of the questions (e.g. 1 and 4 points -> Range = 3)

b. Convert the raw scores into a standardized score using the following formula 4

EORTC QLQ-C30 Strengths

The QLQ-C30 is a validated and meaningful questionnaire that has already been used in numerous studies to measure the outcome of oncological patients.1,5-9 Furthermore, its modular linkage with other tumor-specific questionnaires is unique and allows a more in-depth assessment of tumor patients. It is also available in over 100 languages.10

EORTC QLQ-C30 weaknesses

Major weaknesses of the QLQ-C30 are its relatively large size and its comparatively time-consuming and complex scoring, which makes it rather difficult to implement for everyday clinical use. Even though adding additional modules may allow a more accurate assessment of the patient, the length of the QLQ modules adds to the complexity, which in turn adds to the patient and time burden.

EORTC QLQ-C30 license

Licensing is required for the use and evaluation of the QLQ-C30, but is free of charge for non-commercial users. For commercial users and for users whose project is sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry, a license fee is charged.10


Although the QLQ-C30 is valid and meaningful on the one hand, its length and complex evaluation make it rather unsuitable for regular use in patient care. For clinical research, where one takes the time to have even longer questionnaires filled out, the use of such a questionnaire is realistic and appropriate. Research groups try to achieve results that are as precise and valid as possible. The outcome measurement platform heartbeat ONE provides a possible solution for the electronic recording and analysis of the questionnaires.