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Quality-of-Life Reporting Methodology May Fall Short

Researchers look at QOL measurements in breast cancer trials

MONDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Quality-of-life (QOL) measurements are frequently taken into account in trials for breast cancer, but an updated review and analysis of the literature suggests the reporting methodology has room for improvement; the research has been published online Jan. 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Julie Lemieux, M.D., of the Université Laval in Québec City, and colleagues reviewed 190 randomized trials published between 2001 and 2009 to describe the extent of QOL reporting in breast cancer trials and to assess the effect of QOL measurement on decision making.

The researchers found that the statistical power for QOL was reported in 19.4 and 29.9 percent of biomedical and nonbiomedical intervention trials, respectively. QOL findings influenced decision making in 30.1 percent of the biomedical trials, up from 15.2 percent in the last review; however, for nonbiomedical trials, the influence of QOL on decision making slipped from 95 to 63.2 percent. The authors concluded that reporting of QOL methodology could be improved.

"In summary, QOL data tend to be most useful for clinical decision making in trials of nonbiomedical interventions, in which QOL is often the primary outcome. In randomized clinical trials testing adjuvant treatments, QOL data provided additional information on the effect of new treatments; however, QOL data rarely affected the decision to use or not to use these new interventions." the authors write.

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