Objectives: We previously reported that quality of life (QoL) is not included among trial endpoints and QoL results are underreported in a significant proportion of phase III oncology trials. Here we describe QoL adoption, reporting and methodology of QoL analysis in lung cancer trials. Materials and methods: We selected all primary publications of lung cancer phase III trials assessing anticancer drugs published between 2012 and 2018 by 11 major journals. Results: 122 publications were included. In 39 (32.0%) publications, QoL was not listed among endpoints: in 10/17 (58.8%) early stage/locally advanced NSCLC, in 15/54 (27.8%) first-line of advanced NSCLC; in 10/41 (24.4%) second and further lines of advanced NSCLC, in 4/10 (40.0%) SCLC. Proportion of trials not including QoL was similar over time: 32.9% publications in 2012–2015 vs. 30.6% in 2016–2018. Out of 83 trials including QoL among endpoints, QoL results were absent in 36 primary publications (43.4%). Proportion of trials without QoL results in primary publication increased over time (30.6% 2012–2015 vs. 61.8% 2016–2018, p = 0.005). Overall, QoL data were not available in 75/122 (61.5%) primary publications, due to the absent endpoint or unpublished results. QoL data were lacking in 48/68 (70.6%) publications of trials with overall survival as primary endpoint, 27/54 (50.0%) with other primary endpoints and 28/54 (51.9%) publications with a positive result. For trials including QoL among endpoints but lacking QoL results in primary publication, probability of secondary publication was 6.3%, 30.1% and 49.8% after 1, 2 and 3 years respectively, without evidence of improvement comparing 2012–2015 vs. 2016–2018. Conclusion: QoL is not assessed or published in many phase III lung cancer trials, a setting where QoL value should be highly considered, due to high symptom burden and generally limited life expectancy. Timely inclusion of results in primary publications is worsening in recent years.
- Health-related quality of life
- Lung cancer
- Patient-reported outcomes
- Phase III trials
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cancer Research