Symptom clustering and quality of life in patients with ovarian cancer undergoing chemotherapy

Ju Hee Nho, Sung Reul Kim, Joo Hyun Nam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose The symptom clusters in patients with ovarian cancer undergoing chemotherapy have not been well evaluated. We investigated the symptom clusters and effects of symptom clusters on the quality of life of patients with ovarian cancer. Method We recruited 210 ovarian cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy and used a descriptive cross-sectional study design to collect information on their symptoms. To determine inter-relationships among symptoms, a principal component analysis with varimax rotation was performed based on the patient's symptoms (fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, anxiety, depression, and sexual dysfunction). Results All patients had experienced at least two domains of concurrent symptoms, and there were two types of symptom clusters. The first symptom cluster consisted of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and sleep disturbance symptoms, while the second symptom cluster consisted of pain and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Our subgroup cluster analysis showed that ovarian cancer patients with higher-scoring symptoms had significantly poorer quality of life in both symptom cluster 1 and 2 subgroups, with subgroup-specific patterns. The symptom clusters were different depending on age, age at disease onset, disease duration, recurrence, and performance status of patients with ovarian cancer. In addition, ovarian cancer patients experienced different symptom clusters according to cancer stage. Conclusions The current study demonstrated that there is a specific pattern of symptom clusters, and symptom clusters negatively influence the quality of life in patients with ovarian cancer. Identifying symptom clusters of ovarian cancer patients may have clinical implications in improving symptom management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Symptom clusters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)


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