Using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) to measure symptom burden reported by patients with brain tumors

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2019 Mar;66(3):e27526. doi: 10.1002/pbc.27526. Epub 2018 Nov 14.


Background: Children with brain tumors can experience symptom burden throughout their disease continuum. The aim of the study was to evaluate symptom burden reported by children with brain tumors and factors that potentially were associated with their symptoms.

Methods: Data from 199 children with brain tumors aged 7-22 (mean age = 14 years; 52% males; 76% white) were analyzed. Symptom burden was assessed using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) via computerized adaptive testing (CAT)-anxiety, depression, fatigue, mobility, upper extremity function, peer relationship, and cognition. Patients and parents completed Symptom Distress Scales (SDS). Test statistics and ANOVA were used to evaluate relationships between PROMIS measures and potentially influential variables.

Results: Significant results (P < 0.01) showing impact of symptom burden included: PROMIS measures correlated with SDSs reported by patients and parents on all comparisons. Fatigue, mobility, and upper extremity function were associated with Karnofsky functional performance status, number of treatment modalities (0-3), and time since last treatment (≤1 year, >1 year). Fatigue and cognition were associated with educational program (regular classroom without an individualized education plan vs those that had an individualized education plan); mobility and upper extremity function were associated with time since last radiation. Mobility, upper extremity function, and anxiety were associated with time since last chemotherapy.

Conclusions: Significant associations were found between PROMIS and SDS as well as clinical and demographic characteristics. Brief-yet-precise PROMIS CATs can be used to systematically assess symptom burden experienced by children with brain tumors.

Keywords: CAT; PROMIS; brain tumor; children; patient-centered outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications
  • Brain Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Fatigue / diagnosis*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Information Systems
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life*
  • Upper Extremity / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult