Comparison of instruments for measuring quality of life in patients with lung cancer.
This review compares the key features and psychometric properties of three site-specific quality of life measures that are currently being used in clinical trials for new therapeutic agents for lung cancer. These measures include the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC-QLQ-C30) and its lung cancer module (EORTC-QLQ-LC13), the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy--Lung Cancer Quality of Life Instrument (FACT-L), and the Lung Cancer Symptom Scale (LCSS). Differences are found among the three instruments. However, these differences allow choice of detail concerning specific aspects of quality of life, depending on the purpose of the assessment. All three instruments have acceptable feasibility. The FACT-L and LCSS are also reliable measures for lung cancer patients, but the EORTC lung cancer module needs refinement of its pain subscale and further testing of reliability. Additionally, all three instruments have support for validity, with the LCSS and EORTC lung cancer modules having had more extensive testing, and having been tested with larger samples than the FACT-L. The EORTC and FACT are still under development; thus, each will need further testing. The LCSS has fewer questionable psychometric properties than the other two measures, and the development of items is complete. For repeated measures with patients with the progressive disease of lung cancer, the LCSS provides less patient and staff burden with its nine-item patient and six-item observer scales. Both the EORTC lung cancer module and FACT-L are measures that expect the core measure to be administered, requiring 40+ items each. Alternatively, the EORTC and the FACT, including their site-specific modules, provide a more comprehensive assessment than the LCSS, if that is the intent of the quality of life assessment.
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