Research Paper| Volume 14, ISSUE 2, 101424, March 2023

Performance of the SARC-F in identifying low grip strength and physical performance in older adults with cancer

Published:January 17, 2023DOI:



      Remote, online geriatric assessment (GA) is gaining attention in oncology. Most GA domains can be assessed remotely. However, there is limited evidence identifying reliable tools that can be used in lieu of objective measures of physical function, such as grip strength and physical performance during remote, online GA. In this prospective cohort study, we aimed to assess the performance of the SARC-F, a screening questionnaire for sarcopenia, in identifying low grip strength and the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). Additionally, we assessed the satisfaction of clinical staff with using the SARC-F in the clinic.

      Materials and Methods

      Data were prospectively collected from older adults with cancer of any type and stage who underwent GA in the geriatric oncology clinic of a tertiary cancer centre. Following GA, patients were asked to complete the SARC-F tool. Spearman correlations were performed between objective measures of physical function, SARC-F domains, and SARC-F total score. Additionally, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were assessed to evaluate the performance of SARC-F to detect low grip strength and SPPB.


      Eighty (n = 80) older adults (mean age: 80 years) with cancer completed the SARC-F. A positive SARC-F was found in 31.3% of the cohort. Moderate correlations were found between the SPPB per point and Assistance in walking (r = −0.69), as well as the SPPB per point and total SARC-F score (r = −0.66). SARC-F exhibited moderate sensitivity in identifying low grip strength using the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) criteria (sensitivity: 64.3%) or the Sarcopenia Definitions and Outcomes Consortium (SDOC) criteria (sensitivity: 40.4%). However, specificity was high (>75%) regardless of the criteria applied. Similarly, moderate sensitivity (52.2%), but excellent specificity (97.1%) was found for SPPB. When low grip strength per FNIH was combined with low SPPB, SARC-F demonstrated high sensitivity (80%) and specificity (75.7%).


      SARC-F exhibited promising performance in identifying low grip strength per FNIH and low SPPB combined. To definitively assess the performance of the SARC-F in detecting low grip strength and SPPB, larger studies are warranted.
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