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IntroductionAsthenia is the most prevalent symptom in oncological patients but it is underestimated by the majority of healthcare professionals. The aim of the present study is to estimate the prevalence of tumour-related asthenia in the Spanish population, while defining the associated factors.MethodsAn epidemiological, multicentre, cross-sectional study was conducted in oncology services from Spain, including 712 cancer patients (58.4+/-13.5 years).Results42.5% patients showed asthenia. This prevalence appeared to be tumour-related (p<0.05) and increased among patients with a more advanced stage of disease or with a worsening of performance status (p<0.001). The prevalence of asthenia increased in the presence of the following factors: chemotherapy (in the past: 52.1% vs. 31.0%; at the time of the study: 46.1% vs. 38.2%), symptomatic treatment (in the past: 60.4% vs. 39.8%; at the time of the study: 61.3% vs. 38.6%), present interferon treatment (100%), anaemia (59.7% vs. 31.3%), dehydration/waterelectrolyte imbalance (58.3% vs. 41.6%), respiratory failure (61.4% vs. 39.7%), liver disease (59.5% vs. 41.3%), malnutrition (76.1% vs. 38.7%), pain (57.7% vs. 27.0%), anxiety (56.1% vs. 38.6%), depression (57.9% vs. 40.0%) and sleep disturbances (51.1% vs. 39.4%). A multivariate logistic regression showed that a model including performance status, patient circumstance, chemotherapy, anaemia, pain and anxiety correctly diagnosed asthenia in 70.9% of cases.ConclusionsThe physiopathology of tumour-related asthenia remains relatively unknown, despite its high prevalence and considerable quality of life impact. Determining factors related to asthenia in clinical practice can favour the use of concrete treatments and improve the conditions of cancer patients.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical & translational oncology : official publication of the Federation of Spanish Oncology Societies and of the National Cancer Institute of Mexico

Publication Date





351 - 358


Medical Oncology Division, University Hospital La Paz, Madrid, Spain.


Humans, Neoplasms, Asthenia, Antineoplastic Agents, Prevalence, Cross-Sectional Studies, Quality of Life, Middle Aged, Spain, Female, Male