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Bioelectrical impedance phase angle in clinical practice: implications for prognosis in stage IIIB and IV non-small cell lung cancer

Digant Gupta, Carolyn A Lammersfeld, Pankaj G Vashi, Jessica King, Sadie L Dahlk, James F Grutsch and Christopher G Lis*

Author Affiliations

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, 2610 Sheridan Road, Zion, IL 60099, USA

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:37  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-37

Published: 28 January 2009



A frequent manifestation of advanced lung cancer is malnutrition, timely identification and treatment of which can lead to improved patient outcomes. Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is an easy-to-use and non-invasive technique to evaluate changes in body composition and nutritional status. We investigated the prognostic role of BIA-derived phase angle in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


A case series of 165 stages IIIB and IV NSCLC patients treated at our center. The Kaplan Meier method was used to calculate survival. Cox proportional hazard models were constructed to evaluate the prognostic effect of phase angle, independent of stage at diagnosis and prior treatment history.


93 were males and 72 females. 61 had stage IIIB disease at diagnosis while 104 had stage IV. The median phase angle was 5.3 degrees (range = 2.9 – 8). Patients with phase angle <= 5.3 had a median survival of 7.6 months (95% CI: 4.7 to 9.5; n = 81), while those with > 5.3 had 12.4 months (95% CI: 10.5 to 18.7; n = 84); (p = 0.02). After adjusting for age, stage at diagnosis and prior treatment history we found that every one degree increase in phase angle was associated with a relative risk of 0.79 (95% CI: 0.64 to 0.97, P = 0.02).


We found BIA-derived phase angle to be an independent prognostic indicator in patients with stage IIIB and IV NSCLC. Nutritional interventions targeted at improving phase angle could potentially lead to an improved survival in patients with advanced NSCLC.