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Assessing nutritional status in cancer: role of the Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment

Jager-Wittenaar, Harriëta,b; Ottery, Faith D.a,c

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: September 2017 - Volume 20 - Issue 5 - p 322–329
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000389
ASSESSMENT OF NUTRITIONAL AND METABOLIC STATUS: Edited by Dwight E. Matthews and Kristina Norman

Purpose of review The Scored Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment (PG-SGA) is used internationally as the reference method for proactive risk assessment (screening), assessment, monitoring and triaging for interventions in patients with cancer. This review aims to explain the rationale behind and data supporting the PG-SGA, and to provide an overview of recent developments in the utilization of the PG-SGA and the PG-SGA Short Form.

Recent findings The PG-SGA was designed in the context of a paradigm known as ‘anabolic competence’. Uniquely, the PG-SGA evaluates the patient's status as a dynamic rather than static process. The PG-SGA has received new attention, particularly as a screening instrument for nutritional risk or deficit, identifying treatable impediments and guiding patients and professionals in triaging for interdisciplinary interventions. The international use of the PG-SGA indicates a critical need for high-quality and linguistically validated translations of the PG-SGA.

Summary As a 4-in-1 instrument, the PG-SGA can streamline clinic work flow and improve the quality of interaction between the clinician and the patient. The availability of multiple high-quality language versions of the PG-SGA enables the inclusion of the PG-SGA in international multicenter studies, facilitating meta-analysis and benchmarking across countries.

aResearch Group Healthy Ageing, Allied Healthcare and Nursing, Hanze University of Applied Sciences

bDepartment of Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

cOttery & Associates LLC, Oncology Care Consultants, Greater Chicago Area, Greater Chicago, Illinois, USA

Correspondence to Harriët Jager-Wittenaar, Research Group Healthy Ageing, Allied Healthcare and Nursing, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Eyssoniusplein 18, 9714 CE Groningen, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 623668897; e-mail:

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