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Making Sense of Variations in Prevalence Estimates of Depression in Cancer: A Co-Calibration of Commonly Used Depression Scales Using Rasch Analysis

Sylvie D. Lambert, Kerrie Clover, Julie F. Pallant, Benjamin Britton, Madeleine T. King, Alex J. Mitchell, and Gregory Carter

Background: The use of different depression self-report scales warrants co-calibration studies to establish relationships between scores from 2 or more scales. The goal of this study was to examine variations in measurement across 5 commonly used scales to measure depression among patients with cancer: Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-Depression subscale (HADS-D), Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), and Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-Depression subscale (DASS-D). Methods: The depression scales were completed by 162 patients with cancer. Participants were also assessed by the major depressive episode module of the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition. Rasch analysis and receiver operating characteristic curves were performed. Results: Rasch analysis of the 5 scales indicated that these all measured depression. The HADS and BDI-II had the widest measurement range, whereas the DASS-D had the narrowest range. Co-calibration revealed that the cutoff scores across the scales were not equivalent. The mild cutoff score on the PHQ-9 was easier to meet than the mild cutoff score on the CES-D, BDI-II, and DASS-D. The HADS-D possible cutoff score was equivalent to cutoff scores for major to severe depression on the other scales. Optimal cutoff scores for clinical assessment of depression were in the mild to moderate depression range for most scales. Conclusions: The labels of depression associated with the different scales are not equivalent. Most markedly, the HADS-D possible case cutoff score represents a much higher level of depression than equivalent scores on other scales. Therefore, use of different scales will lead to different estimates of prevalence of depression when used in the same sample.

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Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neurotoxicity: Defining Minimal and Clinically Important Changes

Tiffany Li, Hannah C. Timmins, Terry Trinh, David Mizrahi, Michelle Harrison, Lisa G. Horvath, Peter Grimison, Michael Friedlander, Matthew C. Kiernan, Madeleine T. King, Claudia Rutherford, David Goldstein, and Susanna B. Park

Background: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity (CIPN) is a common complication of cancer treatment that produces functional disability. Increasingly, patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are used to assess CIPN, providing a broader symptom perspective than clinician-graded scales. Understanding when a reported change in CIPN symptoms meets the threshold for clinical significance is challenging. This study aimed to provide interpretation guidelines for validated CIPN PROMs, and thereby enable estimation of thresholds to identify clinically relevant symptoms. Methods: Patients commencing neurotoxic cancer treatments were assessed at 3 timepoints: baseline, midtreatment, and end-of-treatment. Trajectory of CIPN development was assessed by means of CIPN PROMs, EORTC Quality of Life – Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy questionnaire (QLQ-CIPN20), and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy/Gynecologic Oncology Group – Neurotoxicity questionnaire (FACT/GOG-NTX). Thresholds were estimated for CIPN PROMs using the NCI CTCAE sensory neuropathy scale as the clinical anchor by midtreatment and end-of-treatment. Patients were assigned to a clinical change group according to CIPN development: either no development; grade 1 neuropathy (minimally important difference [MID]); or grade 2 neuropathy (clinically important difference). Distribution-based estimates (SD, 0.5) were also evaluated as supportive evidence. Results: In total, 406 patients were recruited to the study, of whom 62% (n=199/320) developed CIPN by midtreatment and 80% (n=274/343) by end-of-treatment. Anchor-based MID estimates by midtreatment were 5.06 (95% CI, 4.26–5.86) for the QLQ-CIPN20 and 3.54 (95% CI, 2.87–4.20) for the FACT/GOG-NTX. End-of-treatment MIDs were estimated to be 7.32 (95% CI, 6.23–8.40) for the QLQ-CIPN20 and 4.84 (95% CI, 3.98–5.70) for the FACT/GOG-NTX. Distribution-based MID estimations yielded lower values than anchor-based methods, at 3.73 for the QLQ-CIPN20 and 2.64 for the FACT/GOG-NTX at midtreatment and 5.52 for the QLQ-CIPN20 and 3.64 for the FACT/GOG-NTX at end-of-treatment. Conclusions: Findings from the present series aid meaningful interpretation for commonly used validated CIPN PROMs and provide thresholds that serve as guidance on how to interpret score changes, which will be useful for design and evaluation of clinical trials and clinical practice.