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J Gynecol Oncol. 2018 Sep;29(5):e81. doi: 10.3802/jgo.2018.29.e81. Epub 2018 Jun 9.

A practical guide to understanding, using and including patient reported outcomes in clinical trials in ovarian cancer.

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Department of Cancer and Blood, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.
NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Prince of Wales Cancer Centre, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Health related quality of life (HRQOL) is a key priority for patients with ovarian cancer as there is significant morbidity associated with the disease and the treatment. It is therefore essential to include measures of HRQOL and patient reported outcomes (PROs) in all clinical trials and ideally report them in the initial manuscript. The results of these analyses help interpret the primary trial endpoints which are typically progression free survival and overall survival from the perspective of the patients, but can also assist with regulatory approval of new drugs and inform future patients regarding the potential benefits and downsides of the treatment as well as help support clinical recommendations. Including PROs in clinical trials allows patient-defined clinical benefits to be assessed in parallel to traditional survival outcomes to provide a more holistic overview and aid in the interpretation of the trial results. Given the importance of these instruments in clinical trials, greater effort is required to improve the appropriate inclusion, quality of analyses and reporting of PROs. It is also essential that all clinicians understand the intricacies of the selection, implementation and interpretation of these measures of HRQOL and PRO's and how important their contribution is to clinical trials as well as clinical practice. This review is a practical guide for clinicians to gain a better understanding of PROs and how they can be incorporated into ovarian cancer trials.


Endpoints; Ovarian Neoplasms; Patient Reported Outcomes; Quality of Life

Conflict of interest statement

M K Wilson has received travel support from MSD and Roche. M Friedlander has received honoraria for being part of the advisory board for Astra Zeneca and MSD. R Mercieca-Bebber has no conflicts.

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