Germline mutations in succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) genes predispose carriers for developing paragangliomas, and studies on their quality of life (QoL) are scarce.
The objectives of this study were to assess QoL in patients with paragangliomas (PGL), to evaluate long-term QoL, and to explore potential differences in QoL between SDH mutation carriers and paraganglioma patients without an SDH mutation.
Cross-sectional, case–control study.
Tertiary referral center.
One hundred and seventy four paraganglioma patients were included: 25 SDHB, two SDHC, and 122 SDHD mutation carriers and 25 patients without an SDH mutation. They provided 100 peers as control persons. Furthermore, patients were compared with age-adjusted reference populations.
Main outcome measures
QoL was assessed using three validated health-related QoL questionnaires: the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Multidimensional Fatigue Index 20, and the Short Form 36.
Patients reported a significantly impaired QoL compared with their own controls, mainly on fatigue and physical condition subscales. Compared with age-adjusted literature values, patients had significantly impaired scores on physical, psychological, and social subscales. A decreased QoL was mainly related to paraganglioma-associated complaints.
There was no difference in QoL between the various SDH mutation carriers or paraganglioma patients without an SDH mutation. QoL in asymptomatic mutation carriers, i.e. without manifest disease, did not differ from QoL of the general population. Long-term results in 41 patients showed no alteration in QoL besides a reduced level of activity.
QoL is decreased in paraganglioma patients but stable when measured over time.