COSMIN database

A systematic review of health-related quality of life instruments in patients with cancer cachexia

Wheelwright, S., Darlington, A. S., Hopkinson, J. B., Fitzsimmons, D., White, A., and Johnson, C. D.
PURPOSE: Assessing the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of cancer patients with cachexia is particularly important because treatments for cachexia are currently aimed at palliation and treatment efficacy must be measured in ways other than survival. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate HRQOL assessment in cancer patients with cachexia.

METHODS: Using guidance from the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, relevant databases were searched from January 1980 to January 2012 with terms relating to cancer, cachexia and HRQOL for papers including adult cancer patients with cachexia or documented weight loss at baseline.

RESULTS: We found one cachexia-specific instrument, the Functional Assessment of Anorexia/Cachexia Therapy, but the tool has not been fully validated, does not cover all the relevant domains and the consensus-based standards for the selection of health status measurement instruments checklist highlighted a number of weaknesses in the methodological quality of the validation study. Sixty-seven studies assessed HRQOL in cachectic or weight-losing cancer patients. Most used generic cancer HRQOL instruments, limiting the amount of useful information they provide. A modified version of the Efficace minimum data checklist demonstrated that the quality of reporting on HRQOL tool use was inadequate in many of the studies. A negative relationship between HRQOL and weight loss was found in 23 of the 27 studies which directly examined this.

CONCLUSION: There is a pressing need for a well-designed HRQOL tool for use with this patient group in both clinical trials and clinical practice.
Support Care Cancer
1433-7339 (Electronic)
Publication year:
General health perceptions / HRQoL:
Health-related quality of life
Adults (18-65)
Seniors (65+)
Neoplasms and related symptoms
PRO / non-PRO:
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
6 - Clinical rating scales