Patient-Reported Outcomes for Cancer Patients Receiving Checkpoint Inhibitors: Opportunities for Palliative Care-A Systematic Review.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Systematic Review)

CONTEXT: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are increasingly used to treat a variety of cancers, but comparatively little is known about patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among patients receiving these novel therapies. OBJECTIVES: We performed a systematic review to examine PROs and HRQoL among cancer patients receiving ICIs as compared to other anticancer therapies. METHODS: We systematically searched PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, Web of Science, and Scopus, using search terms representing ICIs, PROs, and HRQoL on August 10, 2018. Eligible articles were required to involve cancer patients treated with ICIs and to report PROs and/or HRQoL data. RESULTS: We screened 1453 references and included 15 publications representing 15 randomized controlled trials in our analysis. Studies included several cancer types (melanoma, lung cancer, genitourinary cancer, and head/neck cancer), used four different ICIs (nivolumab, pembrolizumab, atezolizumab, and ipilimumab), and compared ICIs to a wide range of therapies (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, other immunotherapy strategies, and placebo). Studies used a total of seven different PROs to measure HRQOL, most commonly the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer core quality of life questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) (n = 12, 80%). PRO data were reported in a variety of formats and at a variety of time points throughout treatment, which made direct comparison challenging. Some trials (n = 11, 73%) reported PROs on specific symptoms. In general, patients receiving ICIs had similar-to-improved HRQoL and experiences when compared to other therapies. CONCLUSION: Despite the broad clinical trials experience of ICI therapies across cancer types, relatively few randomized studies reported PROs and patient HRQoL data. Available data suggest that ICIs are well tolerated in terms of HRQoL compared to other anticancer therapies although the conclusions are limited by the heterogeneity of trial designs and outcomes. Currently used instruments may fail to capture important symptomatology unique to ICIs, underscoring a need for PROs designed specifically for ICIs.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hall, ET; Singhal, S; Dickerson, J; Gabster, B; Wong, H-N; Aslakson, RA; Schapira, L; AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group,

Published Date

  • July 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 58 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 137 - 156.e1

PubMed ID

  • 30905677

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-6513

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2019.03.015


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States