Review of methods used to measure comorbidity in cancer populations: no gold standard exists

Published: January 26, 2012
Category: Bibliography > Papers
Authors: Sarfati D
Countries: New Zealand
Language: null
Types: Care Management
Settings: Academic

J Clin Epidemiol 65:924-933.

Cancer Control and Screening Research Group, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington South, New Zealand

OBJECTIVE: This article reviews methods used to measure comorbidity in the context of cancer; summarizing methods, identifying contexts in which they have been used, and assessing the validity, reliability, and feasibility of each approach.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: Studies describing methods to measure comorbidity in epidemiological studies related to cancer were identified. Data relating to content, face, and criterion validity, reliability, and feasibility were collected.

RESULTS: Two thousand nine hundred seventy-five abstracts were reviewed and 21 separate approaches identified. Content and face validity varied but tended to be higher for measures developed for cancer populations. Some evidence supporting criterion validity of all approaches was found. Where reported, reliability tended to be moderate to high. Some approaches tended to score well on all aspects but were resource intensive in terms of data collection. Eight indices scored at least moderately well on all criteria, three of which demonstrated usefulness in relation to non-site specific cancer (Charlson Comorbidity Index, Elixhauser approach, and National Cancer Institute [Combined] Index).

CONCLUSIONS: No gold standard approach to measuring comorbidity in the context of cancer exists. Approaches vary in their strengths and weaknesses, with the choice of measure depending on the study question, population studied, and data available.

PMID: 22739245

Co-morbidity,Population Markers,Outcome Measures,High-Impact Chronic Conditions,New Zealand,Epidemiologic Methods,Health Status Indicators,Reproducibility of Results,Severity of Illness Index


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