Relationship between symptom change, objective tumor measurements, and performance status during chemotherapy for advanced lung cancer

David Cella, David Eton, Thomas A. Hensing, Gregory A. Masters, Bhash Parasuraman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Our objective was to identify which symptoms of advanced lung cancer are most likely to change with objective tumor measurements (progressions and responses) or changes in performance status (PS). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Eighty patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer were studied during the first 12 weeks of chemotherapy. Symptoms were assessed weekly through telephone administration of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Lung Symptom lndex-12. Data on PS were collected from patients every 3 weeks. Symptom reports were mapped onto clinical events (progression or response as determined by clinicians) and PS assessments. RESULTS: Disease progression and declining PS were associated with worsening of several symptoms. Pain, shortness of breath, cough, weight loss, and appetite loss worsened most from before to after progression. Patients with an objective response to chemotherapy reported more fatigue and difficulty breathing at response than before response. However, unlike patients who experienced progression, patients responding to chemotherapy never or rarely complained of clinically significant pain, weight loss, cough, chest tightness, nausea, or confusion before, during, or after response. With the exception of bother with side effects of treatment, confusion, and difficulty breathing, symptoms tracked fairly closely over the 12 weeks with changes in PS. Declining PS was associated with considerably more symptom worsening than unchanged or improved PS, independent of treatment response. CONCLUSION: These data can help the clinician identify symptoms of lung cancer most reliably associated with objective responses and perceived changes in functional status during chemotherapy. Symptom self-reports could be used by clinicians to monitor patient status and possibly inform treatment modification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalClinical lung cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Disease progression
  • Functional status
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer
  • Patient-reported outcome
  • Treatment response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship between symptom change, objective tumor measurements, and performance status during chemotherapy for advanced lung cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this