Quality of life assessment of randomized controlled trials

Ilaria Panzini, Angelo Fioritti, Lorenzo Gianni, Davide Tassinari, Debora Canuti, Carla Fabbri, Britt Rudnas, Franco Desiderio, Alberto Ravaioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and background: According to the USA Food and Drug Administration, quality of life (QOL) and/or survival are a priority for new anticancer drug approval. This study was performed to review approaches to QOL in randomized controlled clinical trials (RCCTs) and to survey the use of such measures in trials. Material and methods: A literature survey was carried out using the Medline/Medscape, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Ovid databases. Included in the survey were all publications in the set period (from 1966 to June 2005) with "quality of life" in the title or in the abstract in the field of "randomized, controlled clinical trials". Each trial was evaluated according to the level of importance of QOL as a measure of outcome (primary, important and secondary) and was analyzed using the quality scoring system reported by Nicolucci et al. with some items regarding QOL. Results: Four hundred and five RCCT articles in the oncology setting were found. Fifty-six of the 405 (13.8%) publications had QOL as primary end point. The overall quality score of these trials ranged from 40% to 100%, with a median overall score of 80%. The overall score was correlated with the year of publication (P = 0.007), the type of journal (P = 0.05), the presence of a biostatistician among the authors (P = 0.001), and the number of participating institutions (P = 0.009). Conclusions: More attention to QOL in all components of RCCTs (design, choice of instruments, data management and processing) is required from both clinicians and statisticians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-378
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


  • Literature review
  • Quality of life
  • Randomized controlled clinical trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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