Determination of cutpoints for low and high number of symptoms in patients with advanced cancer

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

J Palliat Med

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of palliative medicine

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version



While patients with advanced cancer experience a wide range of symptoms, no work has been done to determine an optimal cutpoint for a low versus a high number of symptoms. Analytic approaches that established clinically meaningful cutpoints for the severity of cancer pain and fatigue provided the foundation for this study. The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal cutpoint for low and high numbers of symptoms using a range of potential cutpoints and to determine if those cutpoints distinguished between the two symptom groups on demographic and clinical characteristics and depression, anxiety, and quality of life (QOL). Patients with advanced cancer (n=110) completed a symptom assessment scale, and measures of depression, anxiety, and QOL. Combinations of cutpoints were tested to yield one- and two-cutpoint solutions. Using analysis of variance for QOL scores, the F-ratio that indicated the highest between-group difference was determined to be the optimal cutpoint between low and high number of symptoms. A cutpoint of


Anxiety, Depression, Female, Humans, Karnofsky Performance Status, Male, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, Neoplasms/complications/physiopathology/psychology, Quality of Life/psychology, Symptom Assessment/methods/standards

Published Article/Book Citation

Journal of palliative medicine, 15:9 (2012) pp.1027-1036.

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