Distinct diarrhea profiles during outpatient chemotherapy

Rafael Diaz, Kord M. Kober, Carol Viele, Bruce A. Cooper, Steven M. Paul, Marilyn Hammer, Fay Wright, Yvette P. Conley, Jon D. Levine, Christine Miaskowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Chemotherapy-induced diarrhea (CID) is a common symptom that occurs in 50 to 80% of patients. Given that the majority of the data on the occurrence and severity of CID is based on physician-rated toxicity criteria, this study’s purposes were to identify subgroups of patients with distinct CID profiles and determine how these subgroups differ in terms of demographic and clinical characteristics; severity, frequency, and distress of CID; the co-occurrence of common GI symptoms; and QOL. Methods: Patients (n = 1133) completed the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale six times over two cycles of chemotherapy. Latent profile analysis was used to identify subgroups of patients with distinct diarrhea profiles. Differences among these subgroups were evaluated using parametric and nonparametric statistics. Results: Four distinct diarrhea profiles were identified: none (58.3%), decreasing (22.0%), increasing (5.2%), and high (14.5%). Compared with the none class, patients in the high class had a lower functional status, a worse comorbidity profile, were more likely to have gastrointestinal cancer, and were more likely to receive chemotherapy on a 14-day cycle. No differences were found among the classes in the percentages of patients who received chemotherapy with a targeted therapy. Conclusion: Given that CID occurred in over 40% of the patients, clinicians should assess for this symptom and other common GI symptoms and initiate appropriate pharmacologic and dietary interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2363-2373
Number of pages11
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diarrhea
  • Latent class analysis
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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