There are 18 core priority symptoms that should be routinely assessed in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer (OC) to provide higher quality of care, according to a study presented at the 48th Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology.1

The National Cancer Institute and National Academy of Sciences have recommended that a core set of priority symptoms be established for recurrent OC. The purpose of this study was to determine how to distinguish priority symptoms from other defined criteria and establish a core set of priority symptoms.

Data from 497 women with recurrent ovarian, fallopian, or primary peritoneal cancer from the GOG 259 trial were evaluated for patient-reported priority symptoms using the Symptom Representation Questionnaire. Symptoms were ranked according to prevalence, severity, and percentage of women who ranked the symptom as one of the top 3 for which they desired improved control, and the association between symptom severity and functional well-being.

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The analysis identified 18 core symptoms that should be assessed among patients with recurrent OC. The symptoms are: fatigue, sleep disturbance, pain, anxiety, peripheral neuropathy, constipation, hair loss, memory dysfunction, abdominal bloating, nausea, drowsiness, depression, lack of appetite, mood swings, weight gain, sexual concerns, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia, and lymphedema.

In all 4 criteria, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and pain were ranked within the top 10 symptoms.

The investigators indicated that these symptoms “are common, severe, poorly managed, and/or interfere with survivors’ functioning and can be efficiently assessed in 1 to 2 minutes.” Assessment of these core priority symptoms could result in more proactive and personalized care for this population.


1. Donovan HS, Sereika S, Edwards RP, et al. Effects of the WRITE Symptoms interventions on symptoms and quality-of-life outcomes for women with recurrent ovarian cancer. GOG-259: an NRG Oncology/Gynecologic Oncology Group study. Presented at: 48th Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology; March 12-15, 2017; National Harbor, MD.