Symptom burden and supportive care in patients with acute leukemia

Leuk Res. 2013 Jul;37(7):731-6. doi: 10.1016/j.leukres.2013.02.009. Epub 2013 Mar 11.


We examined the symptoms and referral rates to specialized palliative care and psychosocial oncology services of patients with acute leukemia. The Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS) was completed by 249 adult patients with acute leukemia. Patients reported a median of 9 physical and 2 psychological symptoms, and those with intense lack of energy, difficulty sleeping and pain were more likely to report intense worrying/sadness (P<0.001). No patients with moderate-severe pain were referred for specialized symptom control and only 13% of those with severe worrying/sadness were referred to psychiatry/psychology within one month of the assessment. Patients in this population have a substantial symptom burden; further research is needed to determine the benefit of early referral to specialized supportive care services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / complications
  • Leukemia / psychology*
  • Leukemia / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / psychology
  • Palliative Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Life
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Symptom Assessment
  • Young Adult