Each year the International Society for Quality of Life (ISOQOL) recognizes the best presentations made by investigators in the early stages of their career in QOL research. This year, during its annual conference held on 30 October 2010 in London, Chantal Quinten of the EORTC Quality of Life Department received the Young Investigator Award for her research entitled: “Investigating heterogeneity for survival in a pooled cancer cohort of closed EORTC Randomized Controlled Trials”.
Chantal, together with her colleagues from the EORTC Quality of Life PROBE (Patient Reported Outcomes and Behavioral Evidence) team (www.eortc.be/probe), investigated in a pooled dataset of closed EORTC clinical studies, the prognostic value of clinical and health related quality of life (HRQOL) variables for survival taking into account heterogeneity in survival across the different cancer sites included in that dataset. Their analysis compared a stratified Cox model with a Cox model which included cancer site as a random effect (frailty).
Both Cox models retained the same clinical (age, gender, WHO performance status and metastasis) and HRQOL (physical functioning, pain, appetite loss) parameters as being significant, yet the frailty model provides smaller confidence intervals. Further analyses are currently being performed to investigate trial and treatment as frailties in addition to cancer site as a frailty term. The application of these models to the analysis of survival data may open up new opportunities for the analysis of survival studies using QOL data.
 C. Quinten, F. Martinelli, C. Coens, J. Maringwa, C. Cleeland, H. Flecthner, C. Gotay, E. Greimel, M. King, D. Osoba, M.J.H. Taphoorn, B. Reeve, J. Ringash, J. Shmucker-Von Koch, J. Weis, A. Bottomley. Prognostic significance of patient heterogeneity in a dataset of 10,108 cancer patients. Quality of Life Research 19(1): 144, 2010.