A Systematic Review of Health‐Related Quality of Life Reporting in Ovarian Cancer Phase III Clinical Trials: Room to Improve

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AbstractBackground.Epithelial ovarian cancer (OC) remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality for women worldwide. Patients may experience a multitude of disease‐ and treatment‐related symptoms that can impact quality of life (QOL) and should be measured and reported in clinical trials. This systematic review investigated the adequacy of reporting of QOL in randomized phase III trials in OC in both the first‐line and recurrent disease setting.Materials and Methods.A systematic review of MEDLINE and EMBASE identified randomized clinical trials of systemic therapy in OC from 1980 to 2014. The adequacy of reporting QOL was evaluated with respect to adherence to established guidelines on reporting QOL in clinical trials and the recent recommendations on the inclusion of patient‐reported outcomes in clinical trials from the Fifth Ovarian Cancer Consensus Conference.Results.Of 3,247 abstracts, 35 studies, including 24,664 patients, met inclusion criteria. Twenty‐two trials (63%) were in the first‐line setting, with 13 (37%) in the recurrent setting. The inclusion of QOL assessments increased from 2% (1980s) to 62% (2010+). Quality of life was a co–primary endpoint in only one trial.Minimal clinically important differences in QOL were defined in eight trials (23%), with results included in the abstract in 37% and article in 86%. Compliance was reported in 26 trials (74%), with 13 trials (37%) reporting specifically how they dealt with missing data. Only seven trials reported the reasons for missing data (20%).Group results were published in 29 trials (83%), with 6 (17%) reporting individual patient results. Results were more commonly reported as a mean overall score (21 trials; 60%), with specific domain scores in only 9 trials (26%). No studies reported QOL beyond progression or included predefined context‐specific endpoints based on objectives of treatment (i.e., palliation/cure/maintenance) and the patient population. Duration of benefit of palliative chemotherapy was reported in only one study.Conclusion.Inclusion and reporting of QOL as a trial endpoint has improved in phase III trials in OC, but there are still significant shortfalls that need to be addressed in future trials.Implications for Practice.The impact of treatment on quality of life (QOL) is an important consideration in patients with ovarian cancer for whom treatment is often given with palliative intent. Both the disease and treatment impact a patient’s QOL and require careful evaluation in clinical trials. Matching the QOL questions to the patient population of interest is critical. Similar rigor to that used to assess progression‐based endpoints is essential to guide clinical decisions. This systematic review demonstrated that although the inclusion and reporting of QOL as a trial endpoint has improved in phase III trials there are still significant shortfalls that need to be addressed in future trials.

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