A systematic evaluation of compliance and reporting of patient-reported outcome endpoints in ovarian cancer randomised controlled trials: implications for generalisability and clinical practice

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This study aimed to evaluate the patient-reported outcome (PRO) content of ovarian cancer randomised-controlled trial (RCT) publications, describe PRO compliance, and explore potential relationships among these and completeness of PRO protocol content.
Publications of Phase III ovarian cancer RCTs with PRO endpoints were identified by Medline and Cochrane systematic search: January 2000 to February 2016. Two reviewers determined the number of Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT)-PRO Extension items addressed in publications. Compliance rates (defined as the proportion of participants included in the principal PRO analysis, of those from whom PRO assessments were expected) were extracted. The relationship between CONSORT-PRO score and compliance rates was explored using scatter plots. Additionally CONSORT-PRO score and PRO compliance rates respectively were compared with corresponding PRO protocol scores obtained from a previous study.
36 eligible RCTs (n=33 with secondary PRO endpoint) were identified and analysed. The average number of CONSORT-PRO items addressed in publications was 6.7 (48%; Range 0-13.5). 3 RCTs did not report PRO results; in 1 case due to poor compliance. Some compliance information was reported in 26 RCTs, but was considered complete for only 10 (28%) RCTs. Compliance rates were poor overall, ranging from 59-83%; therefore missing PRO data from 17-41% of participants in these trials could have been avoided.
Of the26 (73%) RCTs for which PRO protocol completeness scores were available, 6 RCTs reported complete compliance information and the 3 of these RCTs with highest PRO compliance had highest protocol checklist scores.
Few RCTs reported PRO compliance information in a manner enabling assessment of the generalisability of PRO results. This information is particularly important in RCTs of advanced ovarian cancer because it is important to be able to determine if missing data was due to worsening illness compared to methodological issues. Poor compliance appeared related to poor PRO protocol content, and in one case prevented PRO results from being reported, highlighting the need to address compliance strategies in the protocol. Adhering to protocol and CONSORT-PRO reporting guidance should improve PRO implementation and reporting respectively in ovarian cancer RCTs and allow results to meaningfully inform clinical practice.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Patient-Reported Outcomes
Issue number5
Early online date4 Oct 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2017


  • Quality Of Life, Patient-reported outcomes, Missing data, Reporting, Ovarian Neoplasms