Go to content

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


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 healthcare 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.



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.

View Source