Patient-reported outcomes in cancer cachexia clinical trials

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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.


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.

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