The chief therapeutic goal in metastatic prostate cancer is prolongation of survival with good quality of life . Quality of life (health-related) is often used as an endpoint parameter in phase III trials in metastatic prostate cancer, but the value of using HRQOL in this context has not been assessed to date.
In order to evaluate the role of HRQOL assessment in contemporary phase III trials in prostate cancer, we searched the PubMed database to identify publications presenting the results of these trials on systemic therapies for prostate cancer published between January 2000 and December 2015. The analysis was separately presented in ten leading journals. We searched for companion papers reporting on QOL separately.
We identified 84 studies which included a total of 57,193 patients in ten leading journals and 27 studies (7270 patients) in other journals. HRQOL parameters were described or mentioned in the main publication in 25 publications and four companions in total. There was no obvious trend in quality of life reported over two 8-year periods . The explicit statistical comparisons were reported in 22/25 cases (88 %), with significant difference in only 10/25 (40 %) studies and in eight cases (80 %) was conducive to the examined arm. There was no significant association between improvements in HRQOL and improvements in overall survival (OS) or any other primary endpoint in the analyzed studies. Only one study was found which presented the difference in quality of life with no difference in the primary endpoint.
HRQOL is an indicator of benefit during treatment of patients with metastatic prostate cancer, but it is unlikely that HRQOL results can help clinicians choose between treatments given that they are not correlated with changes in OS or at other primary endpoints.