Personalized symptom goals and response in patients with advanced cancer Ovarian Cancer and Us OVARIAN CANCER and US Ovarian Cancer and Us

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Personalized symptom goals and response in patients with advanced cancer



Improving symptoms is a major goal of cancer medicine; however, symptom response is often based on group differences and not individualized. In the current study, the authors examined the personalized symptom goal (PSG) for 10 common symptoms in patients with advanced cancer, and identified the factors associated with PSG response.


In this prospective, longitudinal, multicenter study, patients from 5 tertiary care hospitals rated the intensity of 10 symptoms using a numeric rating scale of 0 to 10 at the time of their first clinic visit and then at a second visit 14 to 34 days later. The PSG was determined for each symptom by asking patients: “At what level would you feel comfortable with this symptom?” using the same scale of 0 to 10 for symptom intensity. PSG response was defined as symptom intensity at the time of the second visit that was less than or equal to the PSG.


Among 728 patients, the median PSG was 1 for nausea; 2 for depression, anxiety, drowsiness, well-being, dyspnea, and sleep; and 3 for pain, fatigue, and appetite. A greater percentage of patients achieved a PSG response at their second visit compared with their first visit (P<.05 except for drowsiness). Symptom response was associated with lower baseline symptom intensity based on PSG criterion but higher baseline symptom intensity based on the traditional minimal clinically important difference definition (P<.001 for all symptoms). In multivariable analysis, higher PSG and nationality were associated with greater PSG response.


The PSG was ≤3 for a majority of patients. PSG response allows clinicians to tailor treatment goals while adjusting for individual differences in scale interpretation and factors associated with symptom response.


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