Prognostication in advanced cancer: update and directions for future research

David Hui, Carlos Eduardo Paiva, Egidio G. Del Fabbro, Christopher Steer, Jane Naberhuis, Marianne van de Wetering, Paz Fernández-Ortega, Tatsuya Morita, Sang Yeon Suh, Eduardo Bruera, Masanori Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this review is to provide an update on prognostication in patients with advanced cancer and to discuss future directions for research in this field. Accurate prognostication of survival for patients with advanced cancer is vital, as patient life expectancy informs many important personal and clinical decisions. The most common prognostic approach is clinician prediction of survival (CPS) using temporal, surprise, or probabilistic questions. The surprise and probabilistic questions may be more accurate than the temporal approach, partly by limiting the time frame of prediction. Prognostic models such as the Glasgow Prognostic Score (GPS), Palliative Performance Scale (PPS), Palliative Prognostic Score (PaP), Palliative Prognostic Index (PPI), or Prognosis in Palliative Care Study (PiPS) predictor model may augment CPS. However, care must be taken to select the appropriate tool since prognostic accuracy varies by patient population, setting, and time frame of prediction. In addition to life expectancy, patients and caregivers often desire that expected treatment outcomes and bodily changes be communicated to them in a sensible manner at an appropriate time. We propose the following 10 major themes for future prognostication research: (1) enhancing prognostic accuracy, (2) improving reliability and reproducibility of prognosis, (3) identifying the appropriate prognostic tool for a given setting, (4) predicting the risks and benefits of cancer therapies, (5) predicting survival for pediatric populations, (6) translating prognostic knowledge into practice, (7) understanding the impact of prognostic uncertainty, (8) communicating prognosis, (9) clarifying outcomes associated with delivery of prognostic information, and (10) standardizing prognostic terminology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Clinical decision-making
  • Prognostication
  • Survival


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