The use of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) in palliative radiotherapy: A topical review

E. Oldenburger, F. Oldenburger, A. Coolbrandt, S. Isebaert, I. Neyens, A. Sevenants, Ch. van Audenhove, K. Haustermans

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Radiotherapy (RT) can be used to palliate cancer-related symptoms and improve quality of life (QoL). Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) could be a reliable, minimally invasive method to monitor patients after palliative radiotherapy. This review was performed to provide an overview of the way PROMs are currently used in follow-up after palliative RT, regarding the goal of the PROM, the type of PROMs, PROM selection, PROM completion as well as the follow-up schemes and patient adherence and attrition. Pubmed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were systematically searched for articles published between 2008 and 2020. Titles and abstracts were reviewed to find relevant studies, which were advanced to full-text review. The reference lists of review articles were screened for correctness of the search and additional studies. No meta-analysis was performed. This search strategy identified 5733 studies, with 94 ultimately selected for inclusion in this topical review. We discovered a great variety of studies that used PROMs after palliative RT. We found no articles describing PROMs in routine clinical care. PROMs were exclusively used as a benchmarking tool and never to improve symptom control or QoL for individual patients. The selection process for the questionnaires, completion method and/or follow-up scheme was seldom described. We did not find any studies referencing patients’ experience on PROMs. Although clear guidelines on the use of PROMs in palliative RT may be difficult to establish, more attention should be paid to the PROM aspect when writing study protocols. Furthermore, efforts should be made to introduce PROMs in routine clinical care in the context of palliative RT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-103
Number of pages10
JournalRadiotherapy and oncology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • PROMs
  • Palliative
  • Patient-reported
  • Radiotherapy

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