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INTRODUCTION: While there is mounting evidence of the independent prognostic value of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) for overall survival (OS) in patients with cancer, it is known that the conduct of these studies may hold a number of methodological challenges. The aim of this systematic review is to evaluate the quality of published studies in this research area, in order to identify methodological and statistical issues deserving special attention and to also possibly provide evidence-based recommendations. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: An electronic search strategy will be performed in PubMed to identify studies developing or validating a prognostic model which includes PROs as predictors. Two reviewers will independently be involved in data collection using a predefined and standardised data extraction form including information related to study characteristics, PROs measures used and multivariable prognostic models. Studies selection will be reported following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, with data extraction form using fields from the Critical Appraisal and Data Extraction for Systematic Reviews of Prediction Modelling Studies (CHARMS) checklist for multivariable models. Methodological quality assessment will also be performed and will be based on prespecified domains of the CHARMS checklist. As a substantial heterogeneity of included studies is expected, a narrative evidence synthesis will also be provided. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Given that this systematic review will use only published data, ethical permissions will not be required. Findings from this review will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at major international conferences. We anticipate that this review will contribute to identify key areas of improvement for conducting and reporting prognostic factor analyses with PROs in oncology and will lay the groundwork for developing future evidence-based recommendations in this area of research. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42018099160.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmj open

Publication Date





cancer, patient-reported outcomes, prognosis, survival, Humans, Models, Theoretical, Neoplasms, Patient Reported Outcome Measures, Prognosis, Systematic Reviews as Topic