Palliative care aims at improving the patient’s quality of life. The assessment of this quality of life (QoL) is crucial for the evaluation of palliative care outcome. Many patients require hospital admissions for symptom control during their cancer journey and most of them die in hospitals, although they would like to stay at home until the end of their lives. In 1986, the European Organization for Research and Treatment (EORTC) initiated a research programme to develop an integrated, modular approach for evaluating the quality of life of patients participating in international clinical trials. This questionnaire measures cancer patients’ physical, psychological and social functions and was used in a wide range of clinical cancer trials with large numbers of research groups and also in various other non-trial studies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties, especially the reliability, validity and applicability of the EORTC QLQ-C30 in a German sample of terminally ill cancer patients receiving palliative care in different settings. The questionnaire was well accepted in the present patient population. Scale reliability was good (pre-treatment 0.80) especially for the functional scale. The results support the reliability and validity of the QLQ-C30 (version 3.0) as a measure of the health-related quality of life in German cancer patients receiving palliative care treatment.