Prognostic value of symptom burden for overall survival in patients receiving chemotherapy for advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer

Cancer. 2010 Jan 1;116(1):137-45. doi: 10.1002/cncr.24703.


Background: Patient-reported outcomes have shown independent prognostic value for patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, translating patient-reported outcomes into useful prognostic information for individual patients has been problematic.

Methods: A total of 94 patients with advanced NSCLC and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (PS) of 0 to 2 who qualified for chemotherapy rated symptom severity using the M. D. Anderson Symptom Inventory before and after their first chemotherapy cycle. Prognostic values of baseline symptoms and changes in symptom severity were examined by Cox proportional hazards models.

Results: In multivariate analysis, controlled for demographic and other factors, baseline coughing rated > or =4 independently predicted significantly higher risk for shorter survival (hazards ratio [HR], 8.69; P < .0001). Patients with coughing > or =4 and a PS of 2 were more likely to have shorter survival (HR, 20.6; P < .0001) than patients with coughing <4 and a PS of 0 to 1. A 1-point or greater increase in severity of fatigue (P < .05), shortness of breath, or poor appetite (P < .01) from baseline to the end of the first chemotherapy cycle was also found to be independently associated with higher risk for poor survival.

Conclusions: An increased risk for shorter survival was indicated by moderate to severe coughing at baseline or by increased fatigue or shortness of breath during the first chemotherapy cycle in patients with advanced NSCLC. Although cross-validation is needed, these data suggest that an individual patient's symptom severity scores, quickly obtainable in the clinic, might contribute clinically useful information for treatment planning for that patient. Society.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Dyspnea / diagnosis
  • Fatigue / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis