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Cancer Outcomes Research: The Arenas of Application

In 2004, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI)External Web Site Policy published Cancer Outcomes Research: The Arenas of ApplicationExternal Web Site Policy[1], a monograph analyzing recent literature in cancer outcomes research. The volume highlights and illustrates a wide range of applications of cancer outcome measures, including:

  • national-level surveillance;
  • the evaluation of prevention and treatment interventions in trials and observation studies; and
  • methodology for monitoring the progress of adults and children (and their families) undergoing cancer therapy or receiving palliative care.

The monograph provided a significant boost to efforts to delineate this field by:

  • defining outcomes research;
  • reviewing and evaluating the current state of the science in this field; and
  • laying the groundwork for later research to produce cancer outcome measures that are empirically and methodologically sound, responsive to a range of decisionmaker needs, and feasible to construct and apply along the full continuum of care.

The monograph also sets the stage for using cancer outcome measures within and across a variety of applications. Such potential applications include:

  • population monitoring and epidemiological investigations (including national-level "report cards" on progress against cancer);
  • quality-of-care and patterns-of-care studies in the community;
  • clinical and biomedical investigations;
  • economic evaluations (including cost-effectiveness analysis); and
  • clinical practice studies (for goal setting and charting patient progress).

Within a given application and for any point along the continuum of care, the appropriate type and mix of outcome measures vary by cancer disease site. Consequently, the monograph presents an in-depth examination of recent efforts to define and measure a full range of outcomes for the four most prevalent cancer disease sites (breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate), plus a major childhood cancer (pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia).


1. Lipscomb J, Donaldson MS, Arora NK, Brown ML, Clauser SB, Potosky AL, Reeve BB, Rowland JH, Snyder CF, Taplin SH. Cancer outcomes research. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr 2004(33):178-97.

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013