Patient-reported outcomes in cancer: a review of recent research and policy initiatives

CA Cancer J Clin. 2007 Sep-Oct;57(5):278-300. doi: 10.3322/CA.57.5.278.


There is growing recognition that patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures--encompassing, for example, health-related quality of life--can complement traditional biomedical outcome measures (eg, survival, disease-free survival) in conveying important information for cancer care decision making. This paper provides an integrated review and interpretation of how PROs have been defined, measured, and used in a range of recent cancer research and policy initiatives. We focus, in turn, on the role of PRO measurement in the evaluation and approval of cancer therapies, the assessment of cancer care in the community, patient-provider decision making in clinical oncology practice, and population surveillance of cancer patients and survivors. The paper concludes with a discussion of future challenges and opportunities in PRO measure development and application, given the advancing state of the science in cancer outcomes measurement and the evolving needs of cancer decision makers at all levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Health Services Research
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Policy Making
  • Population Surveillance
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / standards
  • Quality of Life*
  • Survival Analysis
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration