Journal of Patient-Reported Outcomes 2019 June 17 [Link]

Mendoza TR, Williams LA, Keating KN, Siegel J, Elbi C, Nowak AK, Hassan R, Cuffel B, Cleeland CS



Symptom assessment requires psychometrically validated questionnaires that are easy to use, relevant to the disease, and quick to administer. The MD Anderson Symptom Inventory for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MDASI-MPM) was adapted from the general (core) MDASI to assess the severity of cancer-related and treatment-related symptoms specific to patients with this condition. The MDASI-MPM includes the 13 core MDASI symptoms, which are experienced by most cancer patients, and 6 MPM-specific items developed via qualitative interviewing, a method favored by the US Food and Drug Administration for instrument item generation and development. Qualitative interviewing that summarizes the item generation and development for the MDASI-MPM is detailed in a separate report. The psychometric study reported here was the next step in developing the validation dossier for the MDASI-MPM.


In this secondary analysis of data from a Phase II trial, 248 patients provided MDASI-MPM data at multiple timepoints during therapy. Over time, fatigue, pain, shortness of breath, feeling of malaise, and muscle weakness were consistently the worst symptoms reported; symptoms interfered most with work and general activity and least with relations with others. Cronbach coefficient alpha values for all MDASI-MPM subscales were at least 0.88 at baseline and 0.91 during treatment, indicating good internal consistency reliability. Intraclass correlations of at least 0.86 for all MDASI-MPM subscales administered a cycle apart (n = 82) were indicative of good test-retest reliability. Correlations between MDASI-MPM subscales and LCSS-Meso scores were at least 0.70 (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). Patients with good performance status had significantly lower scores than did patients with poor performance status (all P < 0.05), supporting evidence for known-group validity and sensitivity. Effect-size differences were 0.69 and higher, indicating medium-to-large effects. The minimally important difference in the MDASI-MPM subscales ranged from 1.0 to 1.5 points on a 0-10 scale.


Symptoms specific to a particular cancer, treatment method, or treatment site can be added to the core MDASI to create a tailored, “fit for purpose” instrument. We found the MDASI-MPM to be a valid, reliable, and responsive (sensitive) instrument for assessing the severity of symptoms of patients with MPM and their interference in patients’ daily functioning.