Assessment of cognitive function in patients with metastatic cancer: Are we using the right tools?

Geana Paula Kurita, Marlene Sandvad, Lena Lundorff, Cibele Andrucioli De Mattos-Pimenta, Jette Højsted, Per Sjøgren

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    OBJECTIVE: This study aimed at analyzing the validity and reliability of the continuous reaction time (CRT) test, the finger-tapping test (FTT), the Digit Span Test (DST), the Trail Making Test - part B (TMTB), and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in patients with metastatic cancer.

    METHOD: Eighty adult patients and 81 healthy controls were assessed between July of 2010 and November of 2015. The neuropsychological tests were analyzed regarding construct/discriminant/criterion validity and reliability.

    RESULTS: In terms of construct validity, it was not possible to estimate a model for the MMSE because of a skewed response distribution. For discriminant validity, patients were slower on two measures of the CRT (p = 0.00483, p = 0.00030) and FTT dominant hand (p = 0.00306). Regarding sensitivity and specificity, only the DST and TMTB seemed to predict cognitive deficit; however, the ROC curve areas were ≤ 0.73. In terms of criterion validity, there were few significant correlations between the tests and the sociodemographic and clinical variables, and for the most part were very weak. Reliability was deemed to be adequate for the TMTB, DST, and FTT.

    SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The findings of the full validation analyses were not clear-cut. However, CRT test, DST, FTT, and TMTB demonstrated partial positive results, indicating that these tests have good potential for use in clinical settings and require further study.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPalliative & supportive care
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)80-89
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Journal Article


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