International development of a patient-centered core outcome set for assessing health-related quality of life in metastatic breast cancer patients.



The final MBC COS includes 101 variables about: (1) health-related quality of life (HRQoL, n = 26) and adverse events (n = 24); (2) baseline patient characteristics (n = 9); and (3) clinical variables (n = 42). Many outcome that cover aspects of HRQoL relevant to MBC patients are included, e.g. daily functioning (including ability to work), psychosocial/emotional functioning, sexual functioning, and relationship with the medical team.


The COS developed in this study contains important administrative data, clinical records, and clinician-reported measures that captures the impact of cancer. The COS is important for standardization of clinical research and implementation in daily practice and has received accreditation by the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM).


An international expert group (EG) of patient advocates, researchers, medical specialists, nurse specialists, and pharmaceutical industry representatives (n = 17) reviewed a list of relevant outcomes retrieved from the literature. A broader group (n = 141: patients/patient advocates (n = 45), health care professionals/researchers (n = 64), pharmaceutical industry representatives (n = 28), and health authority representatives (n = 4)) participated in a modified Delphi procedure, scoring the relevance of outcomes in two survey rounds. The EG finalized the COS in a consensus meeting.


For patients living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), achieving best possible health-related quality of life, along with maximizing survival, is vital. Yet, we have no systemic way to determine if we achieve these goals. A Core Outcome Set (COS) that allows standardized measurement of outcomes important to patients, but also promotes discussing these outcomes during clinical encounters, is long overdue.

More about this publication

Breast cancer research and treatment
  • Volume 198
  • Issue nr. 2
  • Pages 265-281
  • Publication date 01-04-2023

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