Patient-Reported Outcomes as Independent Prognostic Factors for Survival in Oncology: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis



Assessment of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in oncology is of critical importance because it provides unique information that may also predict clinical outcomes.


We conducted a systematic review of prognostic factor studies to examine the prognostic value of PROs for survival in cancer. A systematic literature search was performed in PubMed for studies published between 2013 and 2018. We considered any study, regardless of the research design, that included at least 1 PRO domain in the final multivariable prognostic model. The protocol (EPIPHANY) was published and registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (CRD42018099160).


Eligibility criteria selected 138 studies including 158 127 patients, of which 43 studies were randomized, controlled trials. Overall, 120 (87%) studies reported at least 1 PRO to be statistically significantly prognostic for overall survival. Lung (n = 41, 29.7%) and genitourinary (n = 27, 19.6%) cancers were most commonly investigated. The prognostic value of PROs was investigated in secondary data analyses in 101 (73.2%) studies. The EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire was the most frequently used measure, and its physical functioning scale (range 0-100) the most frequent independent prognostic PRO, with a pooled hazard ratio estimate of 0.88 per 10-point increase (95% CI 0.84-0.92).


There is convincing evidence that PROs provide independent prognostic information for overall survival across cancer populations and disease stages. Further research is needed to translate current evidence-based data into prognostic tools to aid in clinical decision making.


Fabio Efficace Gary S. Collins Francesco Cottone Johannes M. Giesinger Kathrin Sommer Amelie Anota Michael Maia Schlussel Paola Fazi Marco Vignetti

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