Predictive Modelling of Patient Reported Radiotherapy-Related Toxicity by the Application of Symptom Clustering and Autoregression
International Journal of Statistics in Medical Research
Patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) are increasingly being used in research to explore experiences of cancer survivors. Techniques to predict symptoms, with the aim of providing triage care, rely on the ability to analyse trends in symptoms or quality of life and at present are limited. The secondary analysis in this study uses a statistical method involving the application of autoregression (AR) to PROMs in order to predict symptom intensity following radiotherapy, and to explore its
... to explore its feasibility as an analytical tool. The technique is demonstrated using an existing dataset of 94 prostate cancer patients who completed a validated battery of PROMs over time. In addition the relationship between symptoms was investigated and symptom clusters were identified to determine their value in assisting predictive modeling. Three symptom clusters, namely urinary, gastrointestinal and emotional were identified. The study indicates that incorporating symptom clustering into predictive modeling helps to identify the most informative predictor variables. The analysis also showed that the degree of rise of symptom intensity during radiotherapy has the ability to predict later radiotherapy-related symptoms. The method was most successful for the prediction of urinary and gastrointestinal symptoms. Quantitative or qualitative prediction was possible on different symptoms. The application of this technique to predict radiotherapy outcomes could lead to increased use of PROMs within clinical practice. This in turn would contribute to improvements in both patient care after radiotherapy and also strategies to prevent side effects. In order to further evaluate the predictive ability of the approach, the analysis of a larger dataset with a longer follow up was identified as the next step.