Randomized comparison of four tools measuring overall quality of life in patients with advanced cancer

Jeff A. Sloan, Charles L. Loprinzi, Steven A. Kuross, Angela W. Miser, Judith R. O'Fallon, Michelle R. Mahoney, Iris M. Heid, Mary E. Bretscher, Nancy L. Vaught

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


Purpose: We report on a clinical trial developed to compare four different instruments that provide overall quality-of-life (QOL) scores, ranging from a simple, one-item instrument to more detailed instruments. Two issues addressed were (1) Will QOL tools suffer from missing data when used in a community-based cooperative group setting?, and (2) Are there additional data generated by a more detailed multiitem instrument over that provided by a single-item global QOL question? Materials and Methods: A four-arm randomized trial was designed to compare four instruments that provide overall QOL scores in patients with advanced colorectal cancer. Patients and physicians completed the single-item Spitzer Uniscale (UNISCALE) at baseline and monthly. Patients were randomly assigned to complete, in addition, either the 22-item Functional Living Index-Cancer (FLIC), the five-item Spitzer QOL index (QLI), a picture-face scale (PICT), or nothing else. Results: A total of 128 patients were randomized. Greater than 90% complete QOL data were obtained. There was strong correlation, concordance, and criterion-related validity among all four patient-completed tools. The UNISCALE had a greater decrease over time than did the FLIC (P = .005), which suggests a greater sensitivity; the UNISCALE was similar to the QLI and the PICT in this regard. Physicians provided lower UNISCALE scores than patients. Results supported the hypothesis that QOL is prognostic for survival. Conclusion: Patients can effectively complete QOL tools in a cooperative group setting with proper education of health care providers and patients. A simple single-item tool (UNISCALE) appears to be appropriate to obtain a measure of overall QOL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3662-3673
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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