Validation and real-world assessment of the Functional Assessment of Anorexia-Cachexia Therapy (FAACT) scale in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer and the cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome (CACS)

Support Care Cancer. 2015 Aug;23(8):2341-7. doi: 10.1007/s00520-015-2606-z. Epub 2015 Jan 14.


Purpose: Patients with cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome (CACS) suffer a significant symptom burden, impaired quality of life (QoL), and shorter survival. Measurement of QoL impairments related to CACS is thereby important both in clinical practice and in research. We aimed to further validate the Functional Assessment of Anorexia-Cachexia Therapy (FAACT) scale in an advanced lung cancer population.

Methods: We tested the performance of the FAACT and its anorexia-cachexia subscale (ACS) within a dataset of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (aNSCLC), using standard statistical methods. We then compared the performance of commonly used QoL measures stratified by CACS status and by patient self-report of appetite and weight loss.

Results: The FAACT and its ACS demonstrate internal validity consistent with acceptable published ranges for other QoL scales (Cronbach alpha = 0.9 and 0.79, respectively). Correlation coefficients demonstrate moderate correlations in the expected directions between FAACT and ACS and scales that measure related constructs. Comparing patients with and without CACS, the ACS is more sensitive to change than other QoL instruments (mean score 33.1 vs. 37.2, p = 0.011, ES = 0.58).

Conclusion: In patients with aNSCLC, the FAACT and its ACS performed well compared with other instruments, further supporting their validity and value in clinical research. FAACT and ACS scores covaried with symptoms and other QoL changes that are typical hallmarks of CACS, lending further support to their use as QoL endpoints in clinical trials among patients with CACS.

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia / diagnosis*
  • Anorexia / etiology
  • Cachexia / diagnosis*
  • Cachexia / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / complications*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications*
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life