Validity of the Assessment of Quality of Life (AQoL) utility instrument in patients with operable and inoperable lung cancer

Lung Cancer. 2006 Aug;53(2):217-29. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2006.05.002. Epub 2006 Jun 12.


There have been few longitudinal studies of quality of life in patients with all stages of lung cancer, particularly those that have included measures of utility. The purpose of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of the Assessment of Quality of Life instrument (AQoL) in patients with lung cancer. The AQoL is a health-related quality of life questionnaire and provides a descriptive system for a multi-attribute utility instrument (MAU), so that scores can be used in cost-utility evaluations. In the present study the reliability (internal consistency) of the AQoL was examined and the concurrent validity was assessed using the Medical Outcomes 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) as the comparator instrument. The sensitivity to different health states of the AQoL and the responsiveness to change over time was also examined. A prospective, non-experimental cohort study was undertaken. Ninety-two participants with all stages of lung cancer were recruited from a tertiary multi-disciplinary lung cancer clinic. Ninety participants had non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and two had limited stage small cell lung cancer. The AQOL and SF-36 surveys were administered concurrently at baseline. In patients with NSCLC the surveys were then repeated 3 and 6 months later. Correlations between the baseline AQoL summary scales and SF-36 summary scales support the divergent and convergent validity of the AQoL. Reliability was also found to be sufficient (Cronbach's Alpha=0.76). In addition, in patients with inoperable NSCLC, baseline AQoL scores were found to be predictive of survival at 6 months in Cox proportional hazards multivariate analysis. However, the physical components summary score of the SF-36 was more sensitive to differences in health states between patients with different stages of NSCLC at 6 months of follow-up and more responsive to change over time in both operable and inoperable patients with NSCLC than the AQoL. The findings support the construct validity and reliability of the AQoL in this population. However, there remains some uncertainty about whether the AQoL has sufficient sensitivity to different health states in this population. Further studies using other MAU instruments may determine whether alternative instruments are more sensitive to different health states in individuals with lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pneumonectomy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome