For a study, researchers sought to determine whether electronic symptom monitoring during cancer treatment improves the quality of life outcomes.

Secondary results were reported from the PRO-TECT (Alliance AFT-39) cluster-randomized trial in 52 US community oncology practices. Patients were randomly assigned to electronic symptom monitoring with PRO questionnaires or usual treatment. About 1,191 patients with metastatic cancer were enrolled between October 2017 and March 2020, with the last follow-up on May 17, 2021. Participants (n=593) in the PRO group were asked to complete weekly questionnaires using an internet-based or automated telephone system for up to a year. Care team warnings were issued when symptoms became severe or worsened. The control group (n=598) got standard medical treatment. 

About 1,191 patients were enrolled in 52 practises (mean age, 62.2 years; 694 [58.3%] women); 1,066 (89.5%) completed the 3-month follow-up. Mean changes on the QLQ-C30 from baseline to 3 months were significantly improved in the PRO group for physical function (PRO, from 74.27 to 75.81 points; control, from 73.54 to 72.61 points; mean difference, 2.47 [95% CI, 0.41-4.53]; P=.02), symptom control (PRO, from 77.67 to 80.03 points; control, from 76.75 to 76.55 points; mean difference, 2.56 [95% CI, 0.95-4.17]; P=.002), and HRQOL (PRO, from 78.11 to 80.03 points; control, from 77.00 to 76.50 points; mean difference, 2.43 [95% CI, 0.90-3.96]; P=.002). Physical function (7.7% more with improvements of ≥5 points & 6.1% fewer with worsening of ≥5 points; odds ratio [OR], 1.35 [95% CI, 1.08-1.70]; P=.009), symptom control (8.6% and 7.5%, respectively; OR, 1.50 [95% CI, 1.15-1.95]; P=.003), and HRQOL (8.5% and 4.9%, respectively; OR, 1.50 [95% CI, 1.15-1.95]; P=.003), and HRQOL (8.5% and 4.9%, respectively; OR, 1.41 [95% CI, 1.10-1.81]; P=.006).

The use of weekly electronic PRO surveys to monitor symptoms, compared to usual care, resulted in statistically significant improvements in physical function, symptom control, and HRQOL at 3 months, with mean improvements of approximately 2.5 points on a 0- to 100-point scale.