Screening for Frailty Using the FRAIL Scale in Older Cancer Survivors: A Cross-sectional Comparison With the Fried Phenotype

Denise Shuk Ting Cheung, Mu Hsing Ho, Pui Hing Chau, Doris Sau Fung Yu, Wing Lok Chan, Sung Inda Soong, Jean Woo, Chia Chin Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: To examine the diagnostic performance of the FRAIL Scale for frailty screening with reference to the Fried phenotype and investigate its association with health outcomes in older cancer survivors. Data source: In this cross-sectional quantitative study, participants were post-treatment cancer survivors aged 65 or above. Measurements included the FRAIL Scale, Fried phenotype, Geriatric Depression Scale-15 item, Modified Barthel Inventory, and EORTC Core Quality of Life Questionnaire. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was performed to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the FRAIL Scale with reference to the Fried phenotype. Health outcomes associated with being frail as estimated by the FRAIL Scale and Fried phenotype were also examined using regressions. Results: Based on 293 older cancer survivors, the area under curve (AUC) of the FRAIL Scale was 0.79, and the optimal cut-off of 1 yielded a sensitivity of 92% and specificity of 41%. According to regression results, the FRAIL Scale was modified by adding an item on time since cancer treatment completion (AUC = 0.81), and using a cut-off of 2 for older cancer survivors, which yielded a sensitivity of 74% and specificity of 67%. The modified FRAIL Scale was associated with depressive symptoms, functional independence, fatigue, dyspnea, physical functioning, and role functioning. Conclusions: The modified FRAIL Scale is proposed for use in older cancer survivors, and a cut-off of 2 should be used. Implications for Nursing Practice: The modified FRAIL Scale can serve as a brief screening tool for identifying frailty among older cancer survivors in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151617
JournalSeminars in Oncology Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Assessment
  • Deficit accumulation
  • Frailty
  • Frailty phenotype
  • Older cancer patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)


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