Levels of symptom burden during chemotherapy for advanced lung cancer: Differences between public hospitals and a tertiary cancer center

Charles S. Cleeland, Tito R. Mendoza, Xin Shelley Wang, Jeanie F. Woodruff, Guadalupe R. Palos, Stephen P. Richman, Arlene Nazario, Garrett R. Lynch, Kai Ping Liao, Gary M. Mobley, Charles Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: We compared risk factors for high disease- and treatment-related symptom burden over 15 weeks of therapy in medically underserved patients with advanced non - small-cell lung cancer and in patients treated at a tertiary cancer center. Patients and Methods: We monitored symptom severity weekly during chemotherapy. Patients were recruited from a tertiary cancer center (n = 101) and three public hospitals treating the medically underserved (n = 80). We used a composite symptom-severity score and group-based trajectory analysis to form two groups: one with consistently more severe symptoms and another with less severe symptoms. We examined predictors of group membership. Results: Seventy percent of the sample (n = 126) reported low symptom-severity levels that decreased during therapy; 30% (n = 55) had consistently severe symptoms throughout the study. In multivariate analysis, patients with good performance status being treated in public hospitals were significantly more likely than patients treated at the tertiary cancer center to be in the highsymptom group (odds ratio, 5.6; 95% CI, 2.1 to 14.6; P = .001) and to report significantly higher symptom interference (P = .001). Other univariate predictors of high-symptom group membership included variables associated with being medically underserved (eg, having less education, being single, and being nonwhite). No group differences by ethnicity were observed in the public hospitals. Medically underserved patients were less likely to receive adequate pain management. Conclusion: Patients with advanced lung cancer and good performance status treated at public hospitals were more likely than those treated at a tertiary cancer center to experience substantial symptoms during chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2859-2865
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Jul 20 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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