Single- vs. Multiple-Item Instruments in the Assessment of Quality of Life in Patients with Advanced Cancer

ArticleinJournal of pain and symptom management 39(3):564-71 · March 2010with8 Reads
Impact Factor: 2.80 · DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.08.006 · Source: PubMed


    Although multidimensional instruments are usually used to measure quality of life in advanced cancer patients, recent research suggests that single-item assessments can provide a reliable measure. Using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G) instrument as a gold standard, we assessed the performance of the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System "feeling of well-being" (ESAS WB) item. We reviewed the data from 213 patients enrolled in six clinical trials. We determined the association between baseline ESAS WB and FACT-G total and subscale domain scores (Physical Well-being [PWB], Social/Family Well-being [SWB], Emotional Well-being [EWB], and Functional Well-being [FWB]. We also calculated the association between baseline (T1) and second (T2) observations of ESAS WB and of FACT-G total score. In addition, we predicted the change in FACT-G predicted by the ESAS WB score using regression analysis. Mean age was 60 (SD 12) years and 48% were female. The Spearman correlation coefficient of ESAS WB and FACT-G was -0.48 (P<0.0001). Correlations with FACT-G subscale domains were also highly significant, except for the SWB domain (P=0.08). The Pearson correlation coefficient for T1-T2 in ESAS WB and FACT-G for 146 patients was -0.36 (P<0.0001). The change in ESAS WB corresponding to FACT-G published minimally important difference was -0.24 for 3, -1.55 for 5, and -2.87 for 7, respectively. These results suggest that the single-item measure ESAS WB best reflects the total score on the FACT-G and PWB, EWB, and FWB domains but not on the SWB domain.