Objective: This study was performed to compare health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of gemcitabine plus S-1 (GS), S-1 alone and gemcitabine alone as first-line chemotherapy for locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer in the GEST (Gemcitabine and TS-1 Trial) study and to assess the impacts of adverse events and tumour response on HRQOL. Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to receive gemcitabine alone (1000 mg/m2 weekly for 3 of 4 weeks), S-1 alone (80, 100 or 120 mg/day twice daily for 4 of 6 weeks) or GS (gemcitabine at 1000 mg/m2 weekly plus S-1 at 60, 80 or 100 mg/day twice daily for 2 of 3 weeks). HRQOL was assessed using the EuroQoL-5D (EQ-5D) questionnaire at baseline and weeks 6, 12, 24, 48 and 72. EQ-5D scores, quality-adjusted life months (QALMs), quality-adjusted progression-free months (QAPFMs) and time until definitive HRQOL deterioration (TUDD) were compared among the three groups. The impacts of adverse events and tumour response on EQ-5D scores were analysed. Results: Including EQ-5D scores after death as 0, the mean profile was significantly better in the GS than gemcitabine group (difference, 0.069; p=0.003), but not the S-1 group (difference,-0.011; p=0.613). The mean profiles until death were similar in the three groups. QALMs, QAPFMs and TUDD were significantly longer in the GS than gemcitabine group (p<0.001, p<0.001 and p=0.004, respectively), but not the S-1 group (p=0.563, p=0.741 and p=0.701, respectively). Fatigue, anorexia and tumour response were significantly associated with changes in EQ-5D scores. Conclusions: GS achieved better HRQOL than gemcitabine alone, resulting a good balance between overall survival and HRQOL benefits. S-1 alone provides HRQOL similar to that provided by gemcitabine alone. Preventing fatigue and anorexia and maintaining better response would improve HRQOL.
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