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Multicenter Study
, 5 (1), e8933

The Average Body Surface Area of Adult Cancer Patients in the UK: A Multicentre Retrospective Study

Multicenter Study

The Average Body Surface Area of Adult Cancer Patients in the UK: A Multicentre Retrospective Study

Joseph J Sacco et al. PLoS One.


The majority of chemotherapy drugs are dosed based on body surface area (BSA). No standard BSA values for patients being treated in the United Kingdom are available on which to base dose and cost calculations. We therefore retrospectively assessed the BSA of patients receiving chemotherapy treatment at three oncology centres in the UK between 1(st) January 2005 and 31(st) December 2005.A total of 3613 patients receiving chemotherapy for head and neck, ovarian, lung, upper GI/pancreas, breast or colorectal cancers were included. The overall mean BSA was 1.79 m(2) (95% CI 1.78-1.80) with a mean BSA for men of 1.91 m(2) (1.90-1.92) and 1.71 m(2) (1.70-1.72) for women. Results were consistent across the three centres. No significant differences were noted between treatment in the adjuvant or palliative setting in patients with breast or colorectal cancer. However, statistically significant, albeit small, differences were detected between some tumour groups.In view of the consistency of results between three geographically distinct UK cancer centres, we believe the results of this study may be generalised and used in future costings and budgeting for new chemotherapy agents in the UK.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Patient identification and inclusion in study.
Only cases in which a full dataset could be obtained were included in the study. This was possible for over 80% of patients in all 3 centres, with only a relatively small number excluded, mainly due to misfiling or loss of chemotherapy scripts.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Histograms depicting the distribution of body surface area in men and women undergoing chemotherapy.
As illustrated, the distribution approximates normal in both sexes.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Correlation between age and BSA.
The BSA was negatively correlated with age in both genders as shown in the scatterplots above. The Pearson correlation coefficient was −0.124 and −0.157 respectively and both results were statistically significant (p<0.0005).

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