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1.  Comparing higher order models for the EORTC QLQ-C30 
Quality of Life Research  2011;21(9):1607-1617.
To investigate the statistical fit of alternative higher order models for summarizing the health-related quality of life profile generated by the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire.
A 50% random sample was drawn from a dataset of more than 9,000 pre-treatment QLQ-C30 v 3.0 questionnaires completed by cancer patients from 48 countries, differing in primary tumor site and disease stage. Building on a “standard” 14-dimensional QLQ-C30 model, confirmatory factor analysis was used to compare 6 higher order models, including a 1-dimensional (1D) model, a 2D “symptom burden and function” model, two 2D “mental/physical” models, and two models with a “formative” (or “causal”) formulation of “symptom burden,” and “function.”
All of the models considered had at least an “adequate” fit to the data: the less restricted the model, the better the fit. The RMSEA fit indices for the various models ranged from 0.042 to 0.061, CFI’s 0.90–0.96, and TLI’s from 0.96 to 0.98. All chi-square tests were significant. One of the Physical/Mental models had fit indices superior to the other models considered.
The Physical/Mental health model had the best fit of the higher order models considered, and enjoys empirical and theoretical support in comparable instruments and applications.
PMCID: PMC3472059  PMID: 22187352
Health-related quality of life; Confirmatory factor analysis; Higher order factor; EORTC QLQ-C30
2.  Attitudes toward genetic testing in childhood and reproductive decision-making for familial adenomatous polyposis 
Childhood DNA testing, prenatal diagnosis (PND) and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are available for familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). However, the use of PND and PGD is controversial. The purpose of this study was to investigate attitudes toward, and experiences with, childhood DNA testing, PND and PGD among members of families at high risk for FAP. In this nationwide, cross-sectional study, questionnaires were sent to individuals from families at high risk for FAP assessing attitudes toward and experiences with childhood testing, PND and PGD, as well as several sociodemographic, clinical and psychosocial variables. Of the individuals from FAP families invited to participate in the study, 525 members participated (response rate=64%). Most parents who had children who were minors (n=93) (82%) were satisfied with the DNA testing procedure. One-third of all individuals wanted DNA testing for their children before age 12. Forty percent of FAP patients indicated that the disease influenced their desire to have children. Only 15% considered termination of pregnancy for FAP acceptable. Approximately 30% of individuals with a FAP diagnosis and their partners considered PND and PGD as acceptable for themselves. A positive attitude was associated with higher levels of guilt and a positive attitude toward termination of pregnancy. Importantly, of those with FAP at childbearing age, 84% had had no previous information at all about either PND or PGD. Future efforts should be aimed at educating FAP family members about reproductive options, allowing them to make an informed choice about family planning. Routine discussion of all reproductive options with a medical specialist should be encouraged.
PMCID: PMC2987203  PMID: 19809485
children; familial adenomatous polyposis; genetic screening; reproductive decision-making; preimplantation genetic diagnosis; prenatal diagnosis
3.  Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in daily clinical practice: a community hospital-based study 
Supportive Care in Cancer  2011;20(1):107-117.
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) are major adverse effects of cancer chemotherapy. This study investigated: (1) the impact of CINV on patients' health-related quality of life (HRQL) in daily clinical practice; (2) the association between patient characteristics and type of antiemetics and CINV; and (3) the role of CINV in physicians' decisions to modify antiemetic treatment.
Patients and methods
This prospective, multicenter study was conducted in nine general hospitals in the Netherlands. During three consecutive chemotherapy cycles, patients used a diary to record episodes of nausea, vomiting and antiemetic use. For each cycle, these ratings were made 1 day prior to and 7 days after having received chemotherapy. The influence of CINV on patients' HRQL was evaluated with the Functional Living Index-Emesis (FLIE) questionnaire at day 6 of each treatment cycle. (Changes in) antiemetic use were recorded by the treating nurse. Patient inclusion took place between May 2005 and May 2007.
Two hundred seventy-seven patients were enrolled in the study. Acute and delayed nausea during the first treatment cycle was reported by 39% and 68% of the patients, respectively. The comparable figures for acute and delayed vomiting were 12% and 23%. During the first and subsequent treatment cycle, approximately one-third of the patients indicated that CINV had a substantial impact on their daily lives. Female patients and younger patients reported significantly more CINV than male and older patients. At all treatment cycles, patients receiving treatment with moderately emetogenic chemotherapy, containing anthracycline, reported more acute nausea than patients receiving highly emetogenic chemotherapy. Acute vomiting was associated significantly with change in (i.e., additional) antiemetic treatment. Delayed CINV did not influence antiemetic treatment.
CINV continues to be a problem that adversely affects the daily lives of patients. CINV is worse in women and in younger patients. In daily clinical practice, acute CINV, but not delayed CINV, results in changes in antiemetic treatment. In view of the effects of not only acute, but also delayed CINV on daily life, more attention should be paid to adjustment of antiemetic treatment to cover CINV complaints, later during the chemotherapy cycle.
PMCID: PMC3223596  PMID: 21258948
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; Antiemetics; Symptom management
4.  Effects of mode of administration (MOA) on the measurement properties of the EORTC QLQ-C30: a randomized study 
While modern electronic data collection methods (e.g., computer touch-screen or web-based) hold much promise, most current studies continue to make use of more traditional data collection techniques, including paper-and-pencil administration and telephone interviews. The present randomized trial investigated the measurement properties of the EORTC QLQ-C30 under three different modes of administration (MOA's).
A heterogeneous sample of 314 cancer patients undergoing treatment at a specialized treatment center in Amsterdam were randomized to one of three MOA's for the QLQ-C30: paper-and-pencil at home via the mail, telephone interview, and paper-and-pencil at the hospital clinic. Group differences in internal consistency reliabilities (Cronbach's alpha coefficient) for the scale scores were compared. Differences in mean scale scores were also compared by means of ANOVA, with adjustment for potential confounders.
Only one statistically significant, yet minor, difference in Cronbach's alpha between the MOA groups was observed for the Role Functioning scale (all 3 alphas >0.80). Significant differences in group means -after adjustment- were found for the Emotional Functioning (EF) scale. Patients completing the written questionnaire at home had significantly lower levels of EF as compared to those interviewed via the telephone; EF scores of those completing the questionnaire at the clinic fell in-between those of the other two groups. These differences, however, were small in magnitude.
MOA had little effect on the reliability or the mean scores of the EORTC QLQ-C30, with the possible exception of the EF scale.
PMCID: PMC2855522  PMID: 20353582
5.  Cancer-related fatigue: clinical practice versus practice guidelines 
Supportive Care in Cancer  2010;19(4):531-538.
This study investigated adherence to treatment guidelines on cancer-related anaemia and fatigue (CRA/CRF) and factors influencing the choice of intervention.
In this prospective, observational study, 136 cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy in a large community hospital completed a questionnaire at consecutive outpatient visits assessing fatigue (the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy—Fatigue) and fatigue-related counselling and advice received. Data on administration of chemotherapy and use of epoetin or blood transfusions were abstracted from the medical records.
Fifty-three percent of patients with severe anaemia (Hb < 10 g/dl) and 6% of patients with less severe anaemia (Hb levels 10–12 g/dl) received treatment (epoetin and/or blood transfusions). Half of the patients with less severe anaemia reported clinically relevant levels of fatigue. More than 50% of all patients received fatigue-related counselling, primarily at the start of chemotherapy. Most counselling was directed at energy conservation. Fatigue was not associated significantly with the use of epoetin or blood transfusion. Patients receiving palliative treatment (17%), male patients (16%) and patients with a low Hb level (<6.2 g/dl, 38%) were treated significantly more often with epoetin.
In daily clinical practice, guidelines concerning the use of epoetin or blood transfusion in severe CRA are adhered to in about half of the cases. In patients with less severe anaemia, the level of fatigue did not play a significant role in the use of epoetin. According to current guidelines, counselling on CRF should be directed primarily at activity enhancement. However, only a minority of patients receive such counselling.
PMCID: PMC3061212  PMID: 20238129
Fatigue; Guidelines; Anaemia; Counselling; Chemotherapy; Quality of life
6.  Health-related quality of life assessment in Indonesian childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia 
Most studies on Health-related Quality of Life (HRQOL) in children with cancer were conducted in developed countries. The aims of this study were to assess the HRQOL in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients in Indonesia and to assess the influence of demographic and medical characteristics on HRQOL.
After cultural linguistic validation, a cross-sectional study of HRQOL was conducted with childhood ALL patients and their guardians in various phases of treatment using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory™ (PedsQL™) 4.0 Generic Core Scale and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory™ (PedsQL™) 3.0 Cancer Module.
Ninety-eight guardians and 55 patients participated. The internal consistency of both scales ranged from 0.57 to 0.92. HRQOL of Indonesian patients was comparable with those in developed countries. There were moderate to good correlations between self-reports and proxy-reports, however guardians tended to report worse HRQOL than patients. Children of the 2–5 year-group significantly had more problems in procedural anxiety, treatment anxiety and communication subscales than in older groups (p < 0.05). In the non-intensive phase HRQOL was significantly better than in the intensive phase, both in patient self-reports and proxy-reports.
Younger children had more problems in procedural anxiety, treatment anxiety and communication subscales. Therefore, special care during intervention procedures is needed to promote their normal development. Psychosocial support should be provided to children and their parents to facilitate their coping with disease and its treatment.
PMCID: PMC2613134  PMID: 18992169
7.  Observer Variation of 2-Deoxy-2-[F-18]fluoro-d-Glucose-Positron Emission Tomography in Mediastinal Staging of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer as a Function of Experience, and its Potential Clinical Impact 
Molecular Imaging and Biology  2007;9(5):318-322.
To test the extent of variation among nuclear medicine physicians with respect to staging non-small cell lung cancer with positron emission tomography (PET).
Two groups of nuclear medicine physicians with different levels of PET experience reviewed 30 PET scans. They were requested to identify and localize suspicious mediastinal lymph nodes (MLN) using standardized algorithms. Results were compared between the two groups, between individuals, and with expert reading.
Overall we found good interobserver agreement (kappa 0.65). Experience with PET translated into a better ability to localize MLN stations (68% vs. 51%, respectively), and experienced readers appeared to be more familiar with translating PET readings into clinically useful statements.
Although our results suggest that clinical experience with PET increases observers’ ability to read and interpret results from PET adequately, there is room for improvement. Experience with PET does not necessarily improve the accuracy of image interpretation.
PMCID: PMC2039839  PMID: 17610119
FDG-PET scanning; Interobserver variation; Lung cancer; Experience; Mediastinal lymph node metastases
8.  Effectiveness of a Minimal Intervention for Stress-related mental disorders with Sick leave (MISS); study protocol of a cluster randomised controlled trial in general practice [ISRCTN43779641] 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:124.
The main aims of this paper are to describe the setting and design of a Minimal Intervention in general practice for Stress-related mental disorders in patients on Sick leave (MISS), as well as to ascertain the study complies with the requirements for a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT). The potential adverse consequences of sick leave due to Stress-related Mental Disorders (SMDs) are extensive, but often not recognised. Since most people having SMDs with sick leave consult their general practitioner (GP) at an early stage, a tailored intervention given by GPs is justified. We provide a detailed description of the MISS; that is more accurate assessment, education, advice and monitoring to treat SMDs in patients on sick leave. Our hypothesis is that the MISS will be more effective compared to the usual care, in reducing days of sick leave of these patients.
The design is a pragmatic RCT. Randomisation is at the level of GPs. They received the MISS-training versus no training, in order to compare the MISS vs. usual care at patient level. Enrolment of patients took place after screening in the source population, that comprised 20–60 year old primary care attendees. Inclusion criteria were: moderately elevated distress levels, having a paid job and sick leave for no longer than three months. There is a one year follow up. The primary outcome measure is lasting full return to work. Reduction of SMD- symptoms is one of the secondary outcome measures. Forty-six GPs and 433 patients agreed to participate.
In our study design, attention is given to the practical application of the requirements for a pragmatic trial. The results of this cluster RCT will add to the evidence about treatment options in general practice for SMDs in patients on sick leave, and might contribute to a new and appropriate guideline. These results will be available at the end of 2006.
PMCID: PMC1475849  PMID: 16674806

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