Symptoms and Distress in Children With Advanced Cancer: Prospective Patient-Reported Outcomes From the PediQUEST Study.

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<p><strong>PURPOSE: </strong>Thousands of children are living with advanced cancer; yet patient-reported outcomes (PROs) have rarely been used to describe their experiences. We aimed to describe symptom distress in 104 children age 2 years or older with advanced cancer enrolled onto the Pediatric Quality of Life and Evaluation of Symptoms Technology (PediQUEST) Study (multisite clinical trial evaluating an electronic PRO system).</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>Symptom data were collected using age- and respondent-adapted versions of the PediQUEST Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (PQ-MSAS) at most once per week. Clinical and treatment data were obtained from medical records. Individual symptom scores were dichotomized into high/low distress. Determinants of PQ-MSAS scores were explored using linear mixed-effects models.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>During 9 months of follow-up, PQ-MSAS was administered 920 times: 459 times in teens (99% self-report), 249 times in children ages 7 to 12 years (96% child/parent report), and 212 times in those ages 2 to 6 years (parent reports). Common symptoms included pain (48%), fatigue (46%), drowsiness (39%), and irritability (37%); most scores indicated high distress. Among the 73 PQ-MSAS surveys administered in the last 12 weeks of life, pain was highly prevalent (62%; 58% with high distress). Being female, having a brain tumor, experiencing recent disease progression, and receiving moderate- or high-intensity cancer-directed therapy in the prior 10 days were associated with worse PQ-MSAS scores. In the final 12 weeks of life, receiving mild cancer-directed therapy was associated with improved psychological PQ-MSAS scores.</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSION: </strong>Children with advanced cancer experience high symptom distress. Strategies to promote intensive symptom management are indicated, especially with disease progression or administration of intensive treatments.</p>



Alternate Title

J. Clin. Oncol.




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