Measuring patient-reported outcomes in advanced gastric cancer

12 Sep 2013
Jianming Xu, TR Jeffry Evans, Cheryl Coon, Kati Copley-Merriman, Yun Su

Background: Gastric cancer (GC), one of the most common cancers in the world, is often diagnosed at an advanced stage and associated with a poor prognosis. Quality of life and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are important considerations when treating GC patients. The aim of this study was to identify existing PRO instruments that would be appropriate for use in GC trials.

Methods: Data were obtained from a systematic literature review and interviews with clinical experts. A literature search was conducted using OVID (EMBASE and MEDLINE) and yielded 1,008 abstracts; 92 assessed PROs in an advanced GC.

Results: Key symptoms and functional impacts identified through the literature and expert input included abdominal pain or pain at the site of distant metastases, dysphagia and other symptoms related to eating, and digestive symptoms. The liver and lungs were the most frequent locations of metastases, leading to dyspnea, abdominal fullness, and jaundice. Symptoms related to changes in bowel habits appeared to be more frequent and pronounced in Asian patients, possibly due to the higher prevalence of GC in the body of the stomach in this population. The five most commonly used PRO instruments were identified, but their validity in advanced-stage GC patients remains unclear.

Conclusions: The symptoms and functional impacts identified here should be confirmed with robust input from advanced-stage GC patients. Optimal measurement of PROs in GC should account for patient burden and possible differences between Asian and non-Asian patients.