BACKGROUND: Gastric cancer is responsible for 10 % of all cancer-related deaths worldwide. With improved operative techniques and neo-adjuvant therapy, survival rates are increasing. Outcomes of interest are shifting to quality of life (QOL), with many different tools available. The aim of this study was to assess which patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are used to measure QOL after a gastrectomy for cancer.
METHODS: A comprehensive search was conducted for original articles investigating QOL after gastrectomy. Two authors independently selected relevant articles, conducted clinical appraisal and extracted data (P.J. and J.S.).
RESULTS: Out of 3414 articles, 26 studies were included, including a total of 4690 patients. These studies included ten different PROMs, which could be divided into generic, symptom-specific and disease-specific questionnaires. The EORTC and the FACT questionnaires use an oncological overall QOL module and an organ-specific module. Only one validation study regarding the use of the EORTC after surgery for gastric cancer was available, demonstrating good psychometric properties and clinical validity.
CONCLUSIONS: A great variety of PROMs are being used in the measurement of QOL after surgery for gastric cancer. A questionnaire with a general module along with a disease-specific module for the assessment of QOL seems most desirable, such as the EORTC and the FACT with their specific modules. Both are developed in different treatment modalities, such as in surgical patients. EORTC is the most widely used questionnaire and therefore allows for comparison of new studies to existing data. Future studies are needed to assess content validity in surgical gastric cancer patients.