Abstract

Background: Myelofibrosis (MF) shortens survival but also compromises quality of life from disease associated splenomegaly and constitutional symptoms (fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, and bone pain). No current validated instrument of patient reported outcomes (PRO) captures the spectrum of MF associated symptoms. In an era of rapid development and testing of therapeutic agents which may impact the natural history and symptoms associated with MF (such as JAK2 inhibitors) a uniform and validated instrument for capturing the presence, severity (and potentially improvement) of MF symptoms is needed. We sought to develop and validate such an instrument, the myelofibrosis symptom assessment form (MFSAF).

Methods: Based upon the results in our MF QOL survey (

Cancer
2007
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109
(1):
68
–76
), we developed the MFSAF to assess fatigue (via the brief fatigue inventory (
BFI-Cancer
1999
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)), additional symptoms were independently assessed for presence and severity on a scale from 0 (absent) to 10 (worst possible) for splenomegaly associated symptoms (early satiety, pain, inactivity, cough) night sweats, itching, bone pain, fever, unintentional weight loss as well as an estimate of overall quality of life. Additionally, patients provided feedback on the quality and nature of the MFSAF, and also completed for comparison validated instruments including the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS), the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), and the Brief Pain Index. Physician input was included including their assessment of patient’s fatigue, spleen symptoms, and quality of life (blinded to patient’s responses) as well as clinical history, lab and exam findings.

Results:MFSAF Results 34 MPD patients were enrolled (24 MF, 10 in the comparison group (4 polycythemia vera (PV), 6 essential thrombocythemia (ET)). the MFSAF was rated by patients as easy to understand (median score 1, range 0–6), and “addressed most of my symptoms” (median score 1, range 0–6) both on a scale of 0 (as good as possible to 10 as bad as possible). When asked if a symptom was not addressed (open ended response) no single symptom was named more than once. As we have previously reported fatigue was common with BFI scores (median 3.6 (0–10) for MF and 2.5 (range 0.2–3.8) for the ET/PV group (increasing BFI score associated with worsening fatigue) worse than median score of published “healthy” controls 2.2. Additional MF associated symptoms were captured well by the MFSAF with splenic, constitutional symptoms, and QOL (median 3 (range 0–7) MF, median 2 (0–3) ET/PV) documented easily and worse than ET/PV controls. Physicians estimation of QOL was excellent (median 3 (0–8) for MF, median 2 (0–4) for ET/PV).

MFSAF Comparison to other Instruments: The MSAS demonstrated more adverse values for MF (than ET/PV) in the PSYCH (psychologic stress; mean-1.27 (STD DEV 0.80), PHYS (physical symptoms; mean 0.90 (STD DEV 0.53)), GDI (Global Distress Index mean-1.29 (STD DEV 0.77)) and a total MSAS symptom score (mean 0.85 (std dev (0.49)) comparable with advanced renal disease (PSYCH 0.99, PHYS 0.99, GDI 1.27, and MSAS of 0.81;

J of Pall Med
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), as well as advanced lung disease, AIDS, and various advanced malignancies. Individual, previously validated MSAS questions were all highly correlated (all p<0.01) with MFSAF (in italic) counterparts including lack of energy (fatigue), cough (same), pain (both abdominal pain and bone pain), sweats (night sweats), itching (same), and weight loss (same). Further validation of pain measurements in the MFSAF came from comparison to the BPI where both individually the presence, and intensity of pain (both abdominal and bone) were highly correlated (all p<0.01). Insomnia, not yet included in the MFSAF, was present in 68% and 63% of patients (MSAS and ISI, respectively). Additionally, problems with sexual interest, or activity, was noted in 35% of patients to the MSAS.

Conclusions: Currently available instruments of PRO and symptoms are lengthy, and individually incomplete for assessing the presence and severity of the diverse nature of symptoms associated with MF. The proposed MFSAF, was comprehensive and well understood by patients and the results for the individual symptoms assessed were highly correlated with previously validated instruments for other conditions as well as with physicians perceptions of fatigue and QOL. The MFSAF, with the addition of questions regarding insomnia and sexuality, should be utilized in all trials of therapeutic agents in MF patients in which symptomatic improvements are an endpoint.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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