The McGill Brisbane Symptom Score in relation to survival in pancreatic adenocarcinoma: a validation study

Cancer Causes Control. 2016 Jul;27(7):941-6. doi: 10.1007/s10552-016-0761-2. Epub 2016 May 26.


Purpose: The McGill Brisbane Symptom Score (MBSS) is a clinical score for pancreatic cancer patients upon initial presentation that takes into account four variables (weight loss, abdominal pain, jaundice, and history of smoking) to stratify them into two MBSS intensity categories. Several studies have suggested that these categories are strongly associated with eventual survival in patients with resectable (rPCa) and unresectable (uPCa) pancreatic cancer. This study aimed to validate the MBSS in a cohort of patients with pancreatic cancer from a single institution.

Methods: Survival time by resection status and MBSS intensity category were analyzed among 633 patients from our institution between 2001 and 2010. Hazard ratios for death using Cox proportional hazards models, with age as the timescale, adjustment for sex and year of diagnosis, and stratified by adjuvant chemotherapy status were estimated.

Results: Median survival time was the longest in patients with low-intensity MBSS and rPCa (817 days), whereas the shortest survival time was found among patients with uPCa regardless of MBSS status (144-147 days). After consideration of age and chemotherapy status, high-intensity MBSS was associated with poorer survival for both rPCa (HR 1.64; 95 % CI 1.07-2.52) and uPCa (HR 1.35; 95 % CI 1.06-1.72).

Conclusions: Preoperative MBSS intensity is a useful prognostic indicator of survival in resectable as well as unresectable pancreatic cancer.

Keywords: Adenocarcinoma; McGill Brisbane Symptom Score; Non-resectable; Pancreatic neoplasms; Resectable; Unresectable; Validation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jaundice / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Smoking / mortality
  • Weight Loss
  • Young Adult