Multiple symptoms in pediatric oncology patients: a systematic review

J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 2009 Nov-Dec;26(6):325-39. doi: 10.1177/1043454209340324. Epub 2009 Aug 17.


Clinical experience suggests that children with cancer experience multiple symptoms as a result of their disease and/ or its treatment. These symptoms may have a negative impact on children's ability to function and on their quality of life. No systematic review has summarized the findings from studies that assessed multiple symptoms in these patients. The purposes of this article are to summarize the findings from the studies of multiple symptoms in pediatric oncology patients and to describe directions for future research. Although there has been a recent increase in the studies of the multiple symptoms in pediatric cancer patients, only 9 studies were found that met the inclusion criteria for this review. Thus, little is known about the relationships between demographic and clinical characteristics and the occurrence of multiple symptoms. Additional research is warranted on the prevalence and impact of multiple symptoms, particularly among homogeneous samples of patients. Future directions for symptom studies in pediatric oncology include symptom cluster research and the search for biological bases for the untoward effects of cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Fever
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Pharyngitis
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Weight Gain
  • Weight Loss


  • Antineoplastic Agents