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2.  Relationship between the magnitude of symptoms and the quality of life: a cluster analysis of lung cancer patients in Brazil*,**  
Lung cancer patients often experience profound physical and psychosocial changes as a result of disease progression or treatment side effects. Fatigue, pain, dyspnea, depression, and sleep disturbances appear to be the most common symptoms in such patients. The objective of the present study was to examine the prevalence of symptoms in lung cancer patients in order to identify subgroups (clusters) of patients, grouped according to the magnitude of the symptoms, as well as to compare the quality of life among the identified subgroups.
A cross-sectional study involving agglomerative hierarchical clustering. A total of 50 lung cancer patients were evaluated in terms of their demographic characteristics and their scores on three quality of life questionnaires, namely the 30-item European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30), the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Lung, and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-form Survey. The cluster analysis took into account the magnitude of the most prevalent symptoms as assessed by the EORTC QLQ-C30 symptom scale scores; those symptoms were fatigue, pain, dyspnea, and insomnia.
Three clusters (subgroups)_of patients were identified on the basis of the magnitude of the four most prevalent symptoms. The three subgroups of patients were as follows: patients with mild symptoms (n = 30; 60%); patients with moderate symptoms (n = 14; 28%); and patients with severe symptoms (n = 6; 12%). The subgroup of patients with severe symptoms had the worst quality of life, as assessed by the total scores and by the integrated domains of all three instruments.
This study highlights the importance of symptom cluster assessment as an important tool to assess the quality of life of patients with chronic diseases, such as lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC4075800  PMID: 23503482
Signs and symptoms; Cluster analysis; Lung neoplasms; Quality of life; Questionnaires; Palliative care
3.  Non-small cell lung cancer in never smokers: a clinical entity to be identified 
Clinics  2011;66(11):1873-1877.
It has been recognized that patients with non-small cell lung cancer who are lifelong never-smokers constitute a distinct clinical entity. The aim of this study was to assess clinical risk factors for survival among never-smokers with non-small cell lung cancer.
All consecutive non-small cell lung cancer patients diagnosed (n = 285) between May 2005 and May 2009 were included. The clinical characteristics of never-smokers and ever-smokers (former and current) were compared using chi-squared or Student's t tests. Survival curves were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method, and log-rank tests were used for survival comparisons. A Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was evaluated by adjusting for age (continuous variable), gender (female vs. male), smoking status (never- vs. ever-smoker), the Karnofsky Performance Status Scale (continuous variable), histological type (adenocarcinoma vs. non-adenocarcinoma), AJCC staging (early vs. advanced staging), and treatment (chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy vs. the best treatment support).
Of the 285 non-small cell lung cancer patients, 56 patients were never-smokers. Univariate analyses indicated that the never-smoker patients were more likely to be female (68% vs. 32%) and have adenocarcinoma (70% vs. 51%). Overall median survival was 15.7 months (95% CI: 13.2 to 18.2). The never-smoker patients had a better survival rate than their counterpart, the ever-smokers. Never-smoker status, higher Karnofsky Performance Status, early staging, and treatment were independent and favorable prognostic factors for survival after adjusting for age, gender, and adenocarcinoma in multivariate analysis.
Epidemiological differences exist between never- and ever-smokers with lung cancer. Overall survival among never-smokers was found to be higher and independent of gender and histological type.
PMCID: PMC3203958  PMID: 22086516
Lung neoplasm; Non-small cell lung cancer; Adenocarcinoma; Never-smoker; Smoking

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