Nutrition Status and Health-Related Quality of Life Among Outpatients With Advanced Head and Neck Cancer

Urvashi Mulasi, David M. Vock, Harriët Jager-Wittenaar, Levi Teigen, Adam J. Kuchnia, Gautam Jha, Naomi Fujioka, Venkatesh Rudrapatna, Manish R. Patel, Carrie P. Earthman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This pilot study evaluated nutrition status and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes among outpatients with head and neck cancer (HNC). Data were collected from 19 patients (18 males, 1 female) during 3 time points: once before chemoradiotherapy (CRT) initiation and 1 and 3 months after CRT. Nutrition status was evaluated using the Scored Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment (PG-SGA). Malnutrition was defined as PG-SGA stage B (moderate/suspected malnutrition) or stage C (severely malnourished). HRQOL was assessed through the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) and its HNC-specific module (QLQ-H&N35). We found that well-nourished patients reported having fewer issues with pain, fatigue, appetite loss, chewing, sticky saliva, coughing, and social eating than those categorized as malnourished (P <.05). The association between the global quality-of-life score and PG-SGA score was statistically significant but weak in strength (r = −0.37, P =.012). Although PG-SGA identified 70% as either moderately or severely malnourished before treatment initiation, the mean body mass index was in the overweight category (29 ± 5 kg/m2). Compared with pretreatment, patients reported more severe problems with chewing, swallowing, sticky saliva, dry mouth, speech, social eating, and taste and smell sensations at 1-month follow-up, although issues with dry mouth persisted 3 months post treatment (P =.003). In conclusion, malnourished patients reported having worse HRQOL symptoms compared with well-nourished patients. Routine nutrition and psychosocial assessment through PG-SGA and EORTC tools might help identify patients in need of nutrition and psychosocial care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNutrition in Clinical Practice
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • head and neck cancer
  • malnutrition
  • nutrition station
  • PG-SGA
  • quality of life

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Nutrition Status and Health-Related Quality of Life Among Outpatients With Advanced Head and Neck Cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this