Validating an instrument for direct patient reporting of distress and chemotherapy-related toxicity among south african cancer patients

Charmaine L. Blanchard, Keletso Mmoledi, Michael H. Antoni, Georgia Demetriou, Maureen Joffe, Gilberto Lopes, Paul Ruff, Daniel S. O’neil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) for monitoring treatment toxicity improve quality of life (QoL) and clinical outcomes. However, no such PROMs exist for sub-Saharan African cancer patients. We aimed to validate the Patient Reported Symptoms-South Africa (PRS-SA) sur-vey, a novel PROM for measuring distress and chemotherapy-related symptoms in South African cancer patients. We enrolled patients at the oncology clinic at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, Johannes-burg. At three separate visits, participants simultaneously completed the PRS-SA survey and several previously validated questionnaires. We constructed a receiver operator characteristics curve for distress levels predicting a Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) score ≥15. We evaluated construct validity for symptom items by comparing severity to the EORTC Core Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ-C30) summary score (Pearson correlation tests) and ECOG performance status (Mann–Whitney U tests). We assessed symptom item responsiveness by comparing change in severity to change in QLQ-C30 summary score and comparing standardized mean scores with negative, no, or positive change on the Global Impression of Change (GIC) questionnaire (Jock-heere–Terpstra trend test). Overall, 196 participants with solid tumors completed instruments. A distress score of 4 had 82% sensitivity and 55% specificity for clinical depression/anxiety. All symptom items showed construct validity by association with either QLQ-C30 score or performance status (highest p = 0.03). All but cough showed responsiveness to change in QLQ-C30 score (highest p = 0.045). In South African cancer patients, the PRS-SA’s stress scale behaves similarly to the distress thermometer in other populations, and the symptom items demonstrated construct validity and responsiveness. Of note, 46% and 74% of participants who completed the PRS-SA in English or isi-Zulu, respectively, required assistance reading half or more of the instrument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number95
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Chemotherapy toxicity
  • Distress
  • Patient reported outcomes
  • Quality of life
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Validating an instrument for direct patient reporting of distress and chemotherapy-related toxicity among south african cancer patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this