Validation of the caregiver Pediatric Patient-Reported Outcomes Version of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events measure

Cancer. 2021 May 1;127(9):1483-1494. doi: 10.1002/cncr.33389. Epub 2020 Dec 17.


Background: Despite improvements in survival rates, cancer treatments have significant side effects that affect the quality of life of children and their families. When an ill child cannot self-report symptoms (eg, he or she is too ill), caregiver (parent) reporting becomes critical. This study evaluates the validity and reliability of the caregiver-reported Pediatric Patient-Reported Outcomes version of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (Ped-PRO-CTCAE [Caregiver]) measure.

Methods: A diverse sample of caregivers with children receiving treatment at 9 oncology centers completed the Ped-PRO-CTCAE [Caregiver] measure, the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System® (PROMIS® ) Parent Proxy measures, the Lansky Play-Performance Scale (PPS), medication use questions, and Global Impressions of Change (GIC). Construct validity (including convergent, discriminant, and known groups validity and responsiveness over time) and reliability (stability) were examined.

Results: A majority of the 473 caregivers were female (85%), non-Hispanic White (61%), and married (75%). Symptoms assessed with the Ped-PRO-CTCAE [Caregiver] and PROMIS Parent Proxy measures were strongly correlated (e.g., r for pain = 0.78; r for fatigue = 0.78; and r for depression = 0.83). Most of the Ped-PRO-CTCAE [Caregiver] item mean scores distinguished among PPS function levels and between children who did take medications for symptom control and children who did not. Changes in Ped-PRO-CTCAE [Caregiver] item mean scores were responsive to GIC over time. Test-retest evaluation found moderate to high agreement (57.8%-93.3%) over time.

Conclusions: This study found strong evidence for the convergent and discriminant validity, known groups validity, responsiveness, and stability of the Ped-PRO-CTCAE [Caregiver] measure in a large and diverse sample of caregivers. The caregiver perspective provides a valuable and unique insight into the experiences of children and adolescents undergoing cancer treatment.

Lay summary: Despite advances in cancer treatments, children and adolescents continue to suffer from treatment side effects, including pain, nausea, fatigue, and emotional distress, that can adversely affect quality of life for children and their families. Although it is best for children to report how they are feeling, there are times when a child may be too young or too ill to self-report. This study provides critical evidence for a new type of questionnaire that allows the caregiver or parent to report accurately what the child is experiencing. This measure can be used to improve adverse event reporting and child cancer care.

Keywords: adverse event; cancer; caregiver; pediatric; symptoms.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Caregivers* / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Fatigue / diagnosis
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Nausea / diagnosis
  • Nausea / etiology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / etiology
  • Parents*
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Proxy*
  • Psychological Distress
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Symptom Assessment*
  • Terminology as Topic