Background: Gastric cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide and little improvement has been made in long-term survival over the last four decades. Gastrectomy is currently the only treatment modality which can be employed with curative intent, yet surgery is associated with significant short and long-term complications. Surgical trials in this field aim to identify interventions which minimise complications whilst prolonging survival. However, to make research relevant to all key stakeholders, the views of patients should be considered when choosing outcomes to report in these trials. complications whilst prolonging survival. However, to make research rele-
vant to all key stakeholders, the views of patients should be considered
when choosing outcomes to report in these trials.
Our study aimed to identify outcomes important to patients and
compare them to those reported by researchers in trials to highlight areas
of improvement which may reduce research waste in this field.
Method: Twenty in-depth, semi-structured qualitative interviews were
undertaken with patients at different stages of recovery following gastric
cancer surgery with curative intent. A thematic analysis of interview tran-
scripts was used to identify surgery-related outcomes important to patients.
These were compared against outcomes identified from a systematic re-
view of 32 trials examining therapeutic surgical interventions for gastric
cancer over the last 20 years.
Results: Over 50 unique outcomes were identified from patient inter-
views. The five most frequently referenced were survival, recurrence, com-
plete tumour resection, fatigue and diet-related issues. Survival was
reported by 66% of trials. Recurrence, complete resection and diet-related
issues were reported by 25%. No trial reported fatigue as an outcome.
Three trials reported quality of life after surgery. Trial outcomes were
poorly defined and heterogeneous in terms of when and how they were
Conclusion: Outcome reporting in gastric cancer surgery trials is
inconsistent and does not adequately represent the priorities of patients.
A consensus approach involving key stakeholders including researchers
and patients is required to prioritise a well-defined standardised group of
outcomes for trials in this field.