Care for childhood cancer(s) has greatly improved over the last decades exceeding 85% 5-year survival in countries with optimal health-care resources (1-4). Although treatment regimens are optimized to reduce unpleasant side effects, many paediatric cancer patients still experience significantly decreased physical, mental, emotional, and social health due to their disease and its treatment (5-6). Thus, the assessment of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is a critical outcome measure for anti-cancer treatment in children. Research has shown that, by the age of 8 years, children are capable to give reliable and valid self-reports on their. However, questionnaires have to be age-specific and developed in accordance with the child’s developmental stage (7).
While several questionnaires have been developed to assess the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in children with cancer, recent research has highlighted several issues in terms of content validity and questionnaire development (8-9).
The current study is designed to capture the HRQoL issues relevant and important to children with cancer. This study will also provide an evaluation of optimal response formats for children aged 8-14 years and from this will offer recommendations to the EORTC Quality of Life group (QLG) on a suitable HRQoL assessment approach for this age group.
1. International incidence of childhood cancer, 2001-10: a population-based registry study. Lancet Oncol. 2017;18(6):719-31.
2. Gatta G, Botta L, Rossi S, Aareleid T, Bielska-Lasota M, Clavel J, et al. Childhood cancer survival in Europe 1999-2007: results of EUROCARE-5–a population-based study. Lancet Oncol. 2014;15(1):35-47.
3. Siegel DA, King J, Tai E, Buchanan N, Ajani UA, Li J. Cancer incidence rates and trends among children and adolescents in the United States, 2001-2009. Pediatrics. 2014;134(4):e945-55.
4. Smith MA, Altekruse SF, Adamson PC, Reaman GH, Seibel NL. Declining childhood and adolescent cancer mortality. Cancer. 2014;120(16):2497-506.
5. Ruland, C.M., Hamilton, G. A., & Schjødt-Osmo, B. (2009). The complexity of symptoms and problems experienced in children with cancer: A review of the literature. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 37(3), 403–418. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2008.03.009
6. Kestler, S.A.,&LoBiondo-Wood,G. (2012). Review of symptom experiences in children and adolescents with cancer. Cancer Nursing, 35(2), E31–E49. https://doi.org/10.1097/NCC.0b013e3182207a2a.
7. Matza, L. S., Patrick, D. L., Riley, A.W., Alexander, J. J., Rajmil, L., Pleil, A.M., & Bullinger,M. (2013). Pediatric patient-reported outcome instruments for research to support medical product labeling: Report of the ISPOR PRO good research practices for the assessment of children and adolescents task force. Value in health, 16(4), 461–479. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jval.2013.04.004
8. Anthony SJ, Selkirk E, Sung L, Klaassen RJ, Dix D and Klassen AF. Quality of life of pediatric oncology patients: Do patient-reported outcome instruments measure what matters to patients? Qual Life Res 2017;26:273-281.
9. Pinheiro LC, McFatrich M, Lucas N, Walker JS, Withycombe JS, Hinds PS, et al. Child and adolescent self-report symptom measurement in pediatric oncology research: a systematic literature review. Qual Life Res 2018;27:291-319.
We have completed the systematic literature review and constructed a preliminary list of issues that might be important for children with cancer and their HRQoL.
Recruitment for Phase Ia interviews ongoing.
Currently, we conduct Phase Ia interviews with paediatric cancer patients, their parents, and health-care professionals in order to collect and prioritize possible contents.
In Phase Ib (summer 2022), further interviews with children will be conducted to investigate their preferences and needs regarding the questionnaire design.
At the end of Phase II (start 2023), a preliminary questionnaire will be available for pilot-testing in a subsequent Phase 3 project.
For further information about the study or to express an interest in collaboration, please contact:
David Riedl email@example.com
Thanks to improved treatments, more and more children survive cancer. Thus, it becomes increasingly important to know how these treatments influence children’s physical and mental well-being. A good way to find this out is to use questionnaires. Although questionnaires for children with cancer exist, some researchers doubt if they cover everything important and if they are understandable for children. Our goal is to develop a new one, based on existing research and the opinion of children, parents, and health-care professionals.
Riedl, D. & Rothmund, M.S., Darlington, A.S., Sodergren, S., Crazzolara, R., de Rojas, T. on behalf of the EORTC Quality of Life Group (2021). Rare use of Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) in childhood cancer clinical trials – a systematic review of clinical trial registries. Eur J Cancer, 152: 90-99. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2021.04.023. PMID: 34090144.