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Patient-reported outcomes in cancer cachexia clinical trials

Wheelwright, Sally J.; Johnson, Colin D.

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: December 2015 - Volume 9 - Issue 4 - p 325–332
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000168
CACHEXIA, NUTRITION AND HYDRATION: Edited by Aminah Jatoi and Florian Strasser

Purpose of review Patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures should be used when measuring concepts best known to the patient. To maximize the translation of findings into clinical practice, PRO measures that are most relevant for the patient group, should be used and careful reporting of the PRO results is required. The study reviews the use of PRO assessments in cancer cachexia randomized controlled trials.

Recent findings Most, but not all, recent cancer cachexia randomized controlled trials include PRO measures, and significant informative results have been found. PRO measures are rarely the primary endpoint. Most frequently, health -related quality of life and/or symptoms are assessed. However, instruments which are not cancer cachexia-specific are often used. Reporting of PRO data is generally poor.

Summary Patient-centred care cannot be delivered without patient-centred outcome information and the assessment of the efficacy of interventions is partly determined by whether there is a measurable perceived patient benefit. To improve the chance of finding significant and useful results, investigators should use cancer cachexia-specific instruments and report their studies carefully.

Cancer Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Correspondence to Sally J. Wheelwright, University Surgical Unit (MP816), Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK. Tel: +44 023 8120 4308; e-mail:

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