Background: Recognising the importance of clinical outcomes assessments (COAs), the Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology-Patient Reported Outcome (RANO-PRO) Working Group recommended inclusion of core symptoms and functions in clinical care or research for malignant glioma patients. This study evaluated the association of the recommended symptoms (pain, perceived cognition, seizures, aphasia, symptomatic adverse events) and functions (weakness, walking, work, usual activities) with disease progression in these patients.
Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, patients with malignant glioma were included from the US National Cancer Institute Neuro-Oncology Branch Natural History Study (NOB-NHS) which follows primary central nervous system tumour patients aged 18 years and older throughout their disease trajectory. The M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory-Brain Tumor (MDASI-BT), EQ-5D-3L, Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), and Neurologic Function scores (NFS) were evaluated in relation to disease progression by chi-square tests, independent- and paired-samples t-tests, adjusted for multiple comparisons at first assessment and over time to a second assessment. Radiographic disease progression was determined on the interpretation of the imaging study by a radiologist and neuro-oncologist using standard criteria as part of clinical trial participation or routine standard of care. The priority constructs were evaluated to provide initial evidence of their relevance, relationship to disease status over time, and sensitivity to change in a diverse group of patients with malignant glioma.
Findings: Seven hundred and sixty-five patients had enrolled into the NOB-NHS between September 1, 2016 and January 31, 2020. Three hundred and thirty-six patients had a diagnosis of a malignant glioma (anaplastic astrocytoma, anaplastic oligodendroglioma, glioblastoma, and gliosarcoma) and were included in the current study. The sample was 64% male (n = 215), 36% female (n = 121), median age of 52 years (IQR = 18.75), 82% White (n = 276), and 65% had tumour recurrence (n = 219). One hundred and fifty-four (46%) had radiographic disease progression. Difficulty remembering, fatigue, and weakness were worse in the group whose imaging was interpreted as radiographic disease progression versus stable disease, as well as the functions of walking, work, activity, and self-care (1.1 < difference < 1.8). Patients with disease progression were four times more likely to have a poor KPS (≤80) and worse NFS. Among patients with disease progression at a second assessment (n = 112), all symptoms, except seizures, worsened between first assessment and disease progression and up to 22% of patients (n = 25) reported worsening mobility, self-care, and usual activity; 46% (n = 51) and 35% (n = 30) had worsened KPS and NFS, respectively. On average, 4 symptoms or functions (SD = 3) were reported as moderate-to-severe and 30% (n = 33) and 23% (n = 26) had a change to moderate-to-severe fatigue and walking, respectively, at time of disease progression. Over 7% of patients with worsening (n = 7 of 100) reported every symptom and function as having changed the most severely including seizures with fatigue and activity reported as the top symptom and function, respectively.
Interpretation: The identified core symptoms and functions worsened at the time of progression, supporting the relevance and sensitivity of the priority constructs identified by the RANO-PRO Working Group for clinical care and clinical trials for malignant glioma patients.
Funding: The Natural History Study is supported by Intramural Project 1ZIABC011786-03.