PURPOSE: Adverse event (AE) reporting is essential in clinical trials. Clinician interpretation can result in under-reporting; therefore, the value of patient self-reporting has been recognized. The National Cancer Institute has developed a Patient-Reported Outcomes version of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (PRO-CTCAE) for direct patient AE reporting. A nonrandomized prospective cohort feasibility study aimed to explore the compliance and acceptability of an electronic (Internet or telephone) system for collecting patient self-reported AEs and quality of life (QOL).
METHODS: Oncology patients undergoing treatment (chemotherapy, targeted agents, hormone therapy, radiotherapy, and/or surgery) at 2 hospitals were sent automated weekly reminders to complete PRO-CTCAE once a week and QOL (for a maximum of 12 weeks). Patients had to speak/understand English and have access to the Internet or a touch-tone telephone. Primary outcome was compliance (proportion of expected questionnaires), and recruitment rate, attrition, and patient/staff feedback were also explored.
RESULTS: Of 520 patients, 249 consented (47.9%)-mean age was 62 years, 51% were male, and 70% were married-and 230 remained on the study at week 12. PRO-CTCAE was completed at 2,301 (74.9%) of 3,074 timepoints and QOL at 749 (79.1%) of 947 timepoints. Individual weekly/once every 4 weeks compliance reduced over time but was more than 60% throughout. Of 230 patients, 106 (46.1%) completed 13 or more PRO-CTCAE, and 136 (59.1%) of 230 patients completed 4 QOL questionnaires. Most were completed on the Internet (82.3%; mean age, 60.8 years), which was quicker, but older patients preferred the telephone option (mean age, 70.0 years). Positive feedback was received from patients and staff.
CONCLUSION: Self-reporting of AEs and QOL using an electronic home-based system is feasible and acceptable. Implementation of this approach in cancer clinical trials may improve the precision and accuracy of AE reporting.