Association of Remote Patient-Reported Outcomes and Step Counts With Hospitalization or Death Among Patients With Advanced Cancer Undergoing Chemotherapy: Secondary Analysis of the PROStep Randomized Trial

J Med Internet Res. 2024 May 17:26:e51059. doi: 10.2196/51059.


Background: Patients with advanced cancer undergoing chemotherapy experience significant symptoms and declines in functional status, which are associated with poor outcomes. Remote monitoring of patient-reported outcomes (PROs; symptoms) and step counts (functional status) may proactively identify patients at risk of hospitalization or death.

Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate the association of (1) longitudinal PROs with step counts and (2) PROs and step counts with hospitalization or death.

Methods: The PROStep randomized trial enrolled 108 patients with advanced gastrointestinal or lung cancers undergoing cytotoxic chemotherapy at a large academic cancer center. Patients were randomized to weekly text-based monitoring of 8 PROs plus continuous step count monitoring via Fitbit (Google) versus usual care. This preplanned secondary analysis included 57 of 75 patients randomized to the intervention who had PRO and step count data. We analyzed the associations between PROs and mean daily step counts and the associations of PROs and step counts with the composite outcome of hospitalization or death using bootstrapped generalized linear models to account for longitudinal data.

Results: Among 57 patients, the mean age was 57 (SD 10.9) years, 24 (42%) were female, 43 (75%) had advanced gastrointestinal cancer, 14 (25%) had advanced lung cancer, and 25 (44%) were hospitalized or died during follow-up. A 1-point weekly increase (on a 32-point scale) in aggregate PRO score was associated with 247 fewer mean daily steps (95% CI -277 to -213; P<.001). PROs most strongly associated with step count decline were patient-reported activity (daily step change -892), nausea score (-677), and constipation score (524). A 1-point weekly increase in aggregate PRO score was associated with 20% greater odds of hospitalization or death (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.2, 95% CI 1.1-1.4; P=.01). PROs most strongly associated with hospitalization or death were pain (aOR 3.2, 95% CI 1.6-6.5; P<.001), decreased activity (aOR 3.2, 95% CI 1.4-7.1; P=.01), dyspnea (aOR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2-5.5; P=.02), and sadness (aOR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-4.3; P=.03). A decrease in 1000 steps was associated with 16% greater odds of hospitalization or death (aOR 1.2, 95% CI 1.0-1.3; P=.03). Compared with baseline, mean daily step count decreased 7% (n=274 steps), 9% (n=351 steps), and 16% (n=667 steps) in the 3, 2, and 1 weeks before hospitalization or death, respectively.

Conclusions: In this secondary analysis of a randomized trial among patients with advanced cancer, higher symptom burden and decreased step count were independently associated with and predictably worsened close to hospitalization or death. Future interventions should leverage longitudinal PRO and step count data to target interventions toward patients at risk for poor outcomes.

Trial registration: NCT04616768;

International registered report identifier (irrid): RR2-10.1136/bmjopen-2021-054675.

Keywords: accelerometer; accelerometers; cancer; chemotherapy; death; gastrointestinal cancer; hospitalization; lung cancer; mobile phone; monitoring; oncology; patient-generated health data; patient-reported outcomes; risk; step counts; symptom burden; symptoms; wearables.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Hospitalization* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*

Associated data