There is paucity of evidence-based data on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). We performed a multicenter propensity-matched case-control study to compare HRQOL of newly diagnosed CML patients treated with front-line dasatinib (cases) or imatinib (controls). Patient-reported HRQOL was assessed with the EORTC QLQ-C30 and the EORTC QLQ-CML24 questionnaires. The impact on daily life scale of the EORTC QLQ-CML24 was selected a priori in the protocol as the primary HRQOL scale for the comparative analysis. Overall, 323 CML patients were enrolled of whom 223 in therapy with imatinib and 100 in therapy with dasatinib. Patients treated with dasatinib reported better disease-specific HRQOL outcomes in impact on daily life (Δ = 8.72, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.17–14.27, p = 0.002), satisfaction with social life (Δ = 13.45, 95% CI: 5.82–21.08, p = 0.001), and symptom burden (Δ = 7.69, 95% CI: 3.42–11.96, p = 0.001). Analysis by age groups showed that, in patients aged 60 years and over, differences favoring dasatinib were negligible across several cancer generic and disease-specific HRQOL domains. Our findings provide novel comparative HRQOL data that extends knowledge on safety and efficacy of these two TKIs and may help to facilitate first-line treatment decisions. © 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.