Patient Generated Subjective Global Assessment Short Form (PG-SGA SF) Is a Valid Screening Tool in Chemotherapy Outpatients

Support Care Cancer. 2016 Sep; 24(9):3883-7. doi: 10.1007/s00520-016-3196-0. Epub 2016 Apr 19.
Abbott, J., Teleni, L., McKavanagh, D., Watson, J., McCarthy, A. L., & Isenring, E.


Purpose: In the oncology population where malnutrition prevalence is high, more descriptive screening tools can provide further information to assist triaging and capture acute change. The Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment Short Form (PG-SGA SF) is a component of a nutritional assessment tool which could be used for descriptive nutrition screening. The purpose of this study was to conduct a secondary analysis of nutrition screening and assessment data to identify the most relevant information contributing to the PG-SGA SF to identify malnutrition risk with high sensitivity and specificity.

Methods: This was an observational, cross-sectional study of 300 consecutive adult patients receiving ambulatory anti-cancer treatment at an Australian tertiary hospital. Anthropometric and patient descriptive data were collected. The scored PG-SGA generated a score for nutritional risk (PG-SGA SF) and a global rating for nutrition status. Receiver operating characteristic curves (ROC) were generated to determine optimal cut-off scores for combinations of the PG-SGA SF boxes with the greatest sensitivity and specificity for predicting malnutrition according to scored PG-SGA global rating.

Results: The additive scores of boxes 1-3 had the highest sensitivity (90.2 %) while maintaining satisfactory specificity (67.5 %) and demonstrating high diagnostic value (AUC = 0.85, 95 % CI = 0.81-0.89). The inclusion of box 4 (PG-SGA SF) did not add further value as a screening tool (AUC = 0.85, 95 % CI = 0.80-0.89; sensitivity 80.4 %; specificity 72.3 %).

Conclusions: The validity of the PG-SGA SF in chemotherapy outpatients was confirmed. The present study however demonstrated that the functional capacity question (box 4) does not improve the overall discriminatory value of the PG-SGA SF.

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List of abbreviations

DGEM German Society for Nutritional Medicine (German Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährungsmedizin)
GESKES  Swiss Society for Clinical Nutrition (German Gesellschaft für klinische Ernährung der Schweiz) 
ESPEN European Society of Clinicl Nutrition and Metabolism