The following article features coverage from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2018 meeting. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Using mobile technology is a useful and realistic option for collecting patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in patients with cancer, according to findings presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, on Friday,  June 1.1

In addition to collecting PROs through mobile technology, the researchers also developed novel emoji PRO scales and associations between PROs and wearable data.

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Between February 2017 and August 2017, researchers recruited 296 patients who had been diagnosed within the last 5 years with lymphoma, myeloma, brain cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer and who were expected to live longer than 6 months. All patients were given an Apple watch. Patients completed baseline and 12 subsequent weekly PROs, which included PROMIS physical function, fatigue, sleep, social/role function short forms and single-item linear analog self-assessment of quality of life, fatigue, and physical function. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups and completed the surveys via paper, iPhone, or Apple Watch. Patients who completed the surveys digitally (via iPhone or Apple Watch) also completed an emoji mood scale and an emoji ordinal scale for physical, emotional, and overall QOL and researchers also collected data on the activity levels and assessed the relationship between PROs and patient activity levels.

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The data showed that patients wore their Apple Watch for an average of 9.8 hours per day and completed 4590 mean steps per day. The researchers were able to gather survey responses from an average of 77% of patients in the iPhone group and 60% of patients in the Apple Watch.

The finding indicated that completing more steps per day was associated with less fatigue and sleep disturbance and better global physical quality of life, physical function, and social function. Likewise, patients who had more minutes of exercise per day were associated with better global mental quality of life and sleep.

Furthermore, the researchers used Spearman correlations and found strong associations between linear analog self-assessment and the emoji ordinal scale, which were -0.80 for fatigue, 0.70 for physical well-being, 0.68 for emotional well-being, and 0.75 for overall QOL (all P < .001).

The researchers concluded that their methods were feasible and may be a promising solution to the challenge of collecting and measuring PROs.

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s coverage of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2018 meeting by visiting the conference page.


  1. Thompson CA, Yost KJ, Bartz A, et al. Patient-reported outcomes, emoji, and activity measured on the Apple Watch in cancer patientsJ Clin Oncol. 2018: 36, (suppl; abstr 6501). Presented at 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting; June 1-5, 2018; Chicago, IL.