Comparative Analysis of Paper-Based and Web-Based Versions of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network-Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast Cancer Symptom Index (NFBSI-16) Questionnaire in Breast Cancer Patients: Randomized Crossover Study

Salissou Moutari, Jinfei Ma, Zihao Zoo, Emmanuel Eric Pazo, Ye Liu, Feng Jin

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Abstract

Background:
Breast cancer remains the most common neoplasm diagnosed among women in China and globally. Health-related questionnaire assessments in research and clinical oncology settings have gained prominence. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network–Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Breast Cancer Symptom Index (NFBSI-16) is a rapid and powerful tool to help evaluate disease- or treatment-related symptoms, both physical and emotional, in patients with breast cancer for clinical and research purposes. Prevalence of individual smartphones provides a potential web-based approach to administrating the questionnaire; however, the reliability of the NFBSI-16 in electronic format has not been assessed.

Objective:
This study aimed to assess the reliability of a web-based NFBSI-16 questionnaire in breast cancer patients undergoing systematic treatment with a prospective open-label randomized crossover study design.

Methods:
We recruited random patients with breast cancer under systematic treatment from the central hospital registry to complete both paper- and web-based versions of the questionnaires. Both versions of the questionnaires were self-assessed. Patients were randomly assigned to group A (paper-based first and web-based second) or group B (web-based first and paper-based second). A total of 354 patients were included in the analysis (group A: n=177, group B: n=177). Descriptive sociodemographic characteristics, reliability and agreement rates for single items, subscales, and total score were analyzed using the Wilcoxon test. The Lin concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) and Spearman and Kendall τ rank correlations were used to assess test-retest reliability.

Results:
Test-retest reliability measured with CCCs was 0.94 for the total NFBSI-16 score. Significant correlations (Spearman ρ) were documented for all 4 subscales—Disease-Related Symptoms Subscale–Physical (ρ=0.93), Disease-Related Symptoms Subscale–Emotional (ρ=0.85), Treatment Side Effects Subscale (ρ=0.95), and Function and Well-Being Subscale (ρ=0.91)—and total NFBSI-16 score (ρ=0.94). Mean differences of the test and retest were all close to zero (≤0.06). The parallel test-retest reliability of subscales with the Wilcoxon test comparing individual items found GP3 (item 5) to be significantly different (P=.02). A majority of the participants in this study (255/354, 72.0%) preferred the web-based over the paper-based version.

Conclusions:
The web-based version of the NFBSI-16 questionnaire is an excellent tool for monitoring individual breast cancer patients under treatment, with the majority of participants preferring it over the paper-based version.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Volume9
Issue number3
Early online date16 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2021

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