Agreement between GLIM and PG-SGA for diagnosis of malnutrition depends on the screening tool used in GLIM

Clin Nutr. 2022 Feb;41(2):329-336. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.12.024. Epub 2021 Dec 18.


Background & aim: The Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) has suggested a process for the diagnosis of malnutrition. The process consists of applying an existing screening tool for malnutrition screening, followed by malnutrition diagnostics, and finally categorization of malnutrition severity (moderate or severe) according to specific GLIM criteria. However, it is not known how well the GLIM process agrees with other diagnostic tools used in the current clinical practice. The aim of this study was to validate the GLIM process against the Patient Generated-Subjective Global Assessment (PG-SGA) when different screening tools were applied in the screening step of the GLIM process.

Methods: Colorectal cancer (CRC) patients from the ongoing CRC-NORDIET study were included. For the GLIM process, the patients were first screened for malnutrition using either 1) Nutritional risk screening, first 4 questions (NRS-2002-4Q), 2) Malnutrition Screening Tool (MST), 3) Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST) or 4) the PG-SGA short form (PG-SGA-SF). The GLIM malnutrition diagnosis was then based on combining the result from each of the screening methods with the etiological and phenotypic GLIM-criteria including weight loss, BMI and fat free mass. In parallel, the patients were diagnosed using the PG-SGA methodology categorizing the patients into either A: well nourished, B: moderately malnourished or C: severely malnourished. The four different GLIM based diagnoses were then validated against the diagnosis obtained by the PG-SGA tool. Sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) were calculated to evaluate validity.

Results: In total, 426 patients were included (mean age: 66, ±8 years) at a mean time of 166 (±56) days after surgery. The GLIM diagnosis based on the four different screening tools identified 10-24% of the patients to be malnourished, of which 3-8% were severely malnourished. The PG-SGA method categorized 15% as moderately malnourished (PG-SGA: category B) and no patients as severely malnourished (PG-SGA: category C). The agreement between the PG-SGA and GLIM process was in general low, but differed according to the tools: PG-SGA SF (sensitivity 47%, PPV 71%), MST (sensitivity 56%, PPV 47%), NRS-2002-4Q (sensitivity 63%, PPV 53%) and MUST (sensitivity 53%, PPV 34%).

Conclusion: In this cross-sectional study of patients with CRC, the concordance between the GLIM-criteria and PG-SGA depended on the screening tool used in the GLIM process. Malnutrition frequency based on the GLIM process schould be reported with and without the use of a screening tool.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Fat-free mass; Fat-free mass index; GLIM; Malnutrition; Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / complications
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / diagnosis*
  • Malnutrition / etiology
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index