The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy – General item GP5 (FACT-GP5), a single-item patient-report tool for assessing cancer treatment tolerability, was found to be useful and understood by patients. Treatment tolerability is generally assessed using clinician-based reporting of overt adverse events and/or patient-reported metrics. A recent study evaluated the usefulness of the FACT-GP5; its findings were reported in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer.

The FACT-GP5 states: “I am bothered by side effects of treatment.” When using this item, patients rate the degree to which they agree with the statement. The researchers conducting this study sought to determine the patient-centered comprehensibility and relevance of the FACT-GP5.

Data from 3 qualitative studies were analyzed. Each study had a different focus, involving patients with advanced ovarian cancer who were on treatment (study 1), patients with indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma who were on treatment (study 2), or patients with cancer who were naïve to systemic cancer treatment (study 3). Participants in the 3 studies were interviewed regarding the FACT-GP5 to assess its understandability and relevance to the treatment side effects they experienced. The researchers conducting the analysis coded qualitative data to identify themes in the patients’ responses.

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This analysis included 21 patients from study 1, 14 patients from study 2, and 16 patients from study 3. Among the patients who were receiving treatment (studies 1 and 2), 88% had indicated that the FACT-GP5 did not need to be rephrased and was acceptable as it was, with 97% reporting that the meaning of the statement was clear.

Among the patients who were treatment-naïve (study 3), 40% considered the tool as not being relevant to their cancer treatment.

When answering FACT-GP5, patients’ level of agreement with the statement mainly considered the treatment and specific side effects.

Patients from study 1 also were asked about the meaning of the word “bothered.” Functional and emotional impacts were common themes these patients identified in connection to the word, but some patients also linked the word to concepts such as increased dependency or interference with daily activities.

The researchers considered the range of themes to support the global nature and flexibility of the FACT-GP5 in addressing various aspects of side effects that patients may experience.

“This study suggests that GP5 is a useful, succinct measure that captures how cancer patients tolerate their treatment,” concluded the researchers.


Peipert JD, Shaunfield S, Kaiser K, et al. How do patients interpret and respond to a single‑item global indicator of cancer treatment tolerability? Support Care Cancer. 2022;31(1):37. doi:10.1007/s00520-022-07484-7