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

Original publication




Journal article


Value health

Publication Date





250 - 267


patient-reported outcomes, prognosis, quality of life, survival, Humans, Neoplasms, Patient Reported Outcome Measures, Prognosis, Reproducibility of Results, Survival Analysis