Current use of Health-Related Quality of Life Outcomes in Advanced-stage Lung Cancer Clinical Trials

Main Article Content

Henry Jacob Conter, M.D.
Ruchira Sengupta, M.A.Sc.
Devidas Menon, Ph.D.
Quincy SC Chu, M.D.


health-related quality of life, lung cancer, outcomes, systematic review


The current use of health-related quality of life (HRQL) outcomes in randomized controlled trials (RCT) is unknown. Lack of adequate HRQL data may impair the ability to help patients make fully informed decisions regarding treatment. This systematic review aimed to assess the current use of HRQL data for advanced-stage lung cancer.

An electronic bibliographic search of MEDLINE, EMBase, and PubMed, was performed to identify English-language RCTs published between 2006 and 2008 on advanced-stage lung cancer treatment. Two reviewers independently assessed all papers for eligibility. Abstracted data included outcomes use, type of HRQL measure used, and the year of publication.

Of the 2383 papers identified on the original search, 97 from 2006-2008 were included in the final analysis. Only 41% of all studies incorporated a HRQL outcome, and there was no significant change over time. All HRQL measures used were health status profiles, which have only ordinal properties.

Even though HRQL outcomes are of high clinical value they are often not incorporated into RCTs of advanced lung cancer treatment. Instead of health profiles, utility-based measures, with cardinal properties, should be incorporated into trials. Similar systematic reviews should be performed to assess HRQL outcomes use in other relevant areas.