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13.06.2016 | Review | Ausgabe 10/2016

Quality of Life Research 10/2016

The patient-reported outcome content of international ovarian cancer randomised controlled trial protocols

Quality of Life Research > Ausgabe 10/2016
Rebecca Mercieca-Bebber, Michael Friedlander, Peey-Sei Kok, Melanie Calvert, Derek Kyte, Martin Stockler, Madeleine T. King
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11136-016-1339-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
An erratum to this article is available at http://​dx.​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11136-017-1578-5.



Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) provide the patient’s perspective of the impact of treatment. Evidence suggests that PRO content of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) protocols is generally sub-optimal. This study aimed to describe and evaluate the PRO-specific content of ovarian cancer RCT protocols.


Published, phase III, ovarian cancer RCTs with PRO endpoints were identified following a systematic search of Medline and Cochrane databases (Jan 2000 to Feb 2016). Corresponding RCT protocols were downloaded (if published) or obtained by contacting authors. Two investigators independently assessed adherence of PRO-specific content of included protocols to a checklist of 58 recommended PRO protocol items currently being developed by the International Society for Quality of Life Research. Discrepancies were resolved with a third investigator.


Of 41 eligible trials identified, 26 protocols were assessed (developed 1995–2010). We were unable to obtain the remaining 15 protocols. Protocols addressed a mean of 28 % PRO checklist items (range 8–66 %). Fifteen (58 % of assessed protocols) provided a rationale for PRO assessment, 8 (31 %) described a PRO objective, 24 (92 %) included a PRO assessment schedule, but only 6 (23 %) justified timing of PRO assessments. Twelve protocols (46 %) provided staff data collection instructions, 4 (15 %) included plans for monitoring PRO compliance, and 16 (62 %) included a PRO analysis plan.


On average, protocols addressed less than one-third of PRO protocol checklist items. In some cases, key guidance regarding PRO administration was lacking, which may lead to inconsistent and sub-optimal PRO methodology. Efforts are needed to improve PRO protocol content in cancer trials.

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