Priorities and preferences of advanced soft tissue sarcoma patients starting palliative chemotherapy: baseline results from the HOLISTIC study.



One hundred and thirty-seven patients with advanced STS participated (UK: n = 72, the Netherlands: n = 65). Median age was 62 (27-79) years. Preference for extended LoL (n = 66, 48%) was slightly more common than preference for QoL (n = 56, 41%); 12 patients (9%) valued LoL and QoL equally (missing: n = 3). Younger patients (age <40 years) prioritised LoL, whereas two-thirds of older patients (aged ≥65 years) felt that QoL was equally or more important than LoL (P = 0.020). Decisional conflict was most common in patients who prioritised QoL (P = 0.024). Most patients preferred an active (n = 45, 33%) or collaborative (n = 59, 44%) role in treatment decisions. Gender, performance status, and country were significantly associated with preferred role. Concordance between preferred and actual role in chemotherapy decision was high (n = 104, 76%).


The prospective HOLISTIC study was conducted in the UK and the Netherlands assessing health-related quality of life in STS patients receiving palliative chemotherapy. Participants completed a questionnaire before starting chemotherapy, including attitudes towards quality of life (QoL) versus length of life (LoL), decisional control preferences, and decisional conflict. Chi-square and Fisher's exact tests were used to evaluate associations between patient characteristics and preferences.


Palliative chemotherapy is the principal treatment of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcomas (STS); however prognosis is limited (median overall survival 12-19 months). In this setting, patient values and priorities are central to personalised treatment decisions.


Heterogeneous priorities and preferences among advanced STS patients support personalised decisions about palliative treatment. Considering individual differences during treatment discussions may enhance communication and optimise patient-centred care.

More about this publication

ESMO open
  • Volume 6
  • Issue nr. 5
  • Pages 100258
  • Publication date 01-10-2021

This site uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.