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Development and validation of a prognostic survival model with patient-reported outcomes for patients with cancer

Seow H, Tanuseputro P, Barbera L, Earle C, Guthrie D, Isenberg S, Juergens R, Myers J, Brouwers M, Sutradhar R. JAMA Netw Open. 2020; 3(4):e201768. Epub 2020 Apr 1. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.1768


Importance — Existing prognostic cancer tools include biological and laboratory variables. However, patients often do not know this information, preventing them from using the tools and understanding their prognosis.

Objective — To develop and validate a prognostic survival model for all cancer types that incorporates information on symptoms and performance status over time.

Design, Setting, and Participants — This is a retrospective, population-based, prognostic study of data from patients diagnosed with cancer from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2015, in Ontario, Canada. Patients were randomly selected for model derivation (60%) and validation (40%). The derivation cohort was used to develop a multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression model with baseline characteristics under a backward stepwise variable selection process to predict the risk of mortality as a function of time. Covariates included demographic characteristics, clinical information, symptoms and performance status, and health care use. Model performance was assessed on the validation cohort by C statistics and calibration plots. Data analysis was performed from February 6, 2018, to November 6, 2019.

Main Outcomes and Measures — Time to death from diagnosis (year 0) recalculated at each of 4 annual survivor marks after diagnosis (up to year 4).

Results — A total of 255 494 patients diagnosed with cancer were identified (135 699 [53.1%] female; median age, 65 years [interquartile range, 55-73 years]). The cohort decreased to 217 055, 184 822, 143 649, and 109 569 patients for each of the 4 years after diagnosis. In the derivation cohort year 0, and the most common cancers were breast (30 855 [20.1%]), lung (19 111 [12.5%]), and prostate (18 404 [12.0%]). A total of 47 614 (31.1%) had stage III or IV disease. The mean (SD) time to death in year 0 was 567 (715) days. After backward stepwise selection in year 0, the following factors were associated with increased risk of death by more than 10%: being hospitalized; having congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or dementia; having moderate to high pain; having worse well-being; having functional status in the transitional or end-of-life phase; having any problems with appetite; receiving end-of-life home care; and living in a nursing home. Model discrimination was high for all models (C statistic: 0.902 [year 0], 0.912 [year 1], 0.912 [year 2], 0.909 [year 3], and 0.908 [year 4]).

Conclusions and Relevance — The model accurately predicted changing cancer survival risk over time using clinical, symptom, and performance status data and appears to have the potential to be a useful prognostic tool that can be completed by patients. This knowledge may support earlier integration of palliative care.

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