Assessing the content based on ICF and quality based on COSMIN criteria of patient-reported outcome measures of functioning in breast cancer survivors: a systematic review Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose

    To identify currently used patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) to evaluate disability in breast cancer survivors (BC) and critically evaluate their content and measurement properties.


    Four electronic databases (PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Scopus and Google Scholar) were searched from 2001 to February 2021. PRISMA guidelines were followed. The content of the included PROM was evaluated by linking the items of the questionnaires to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Core Set for BC using standard linking rules. Methodological quality and measurement properties were assessed using the COSMIN checklist. Qualitative synthesis was used to summarize the evidence on content validity and measurement properties. The overall quality of evidence on each measurement property was provided using GRADE principles.


    Ten eligible studies reported measurement properties of seven PROMs. The content of included PROMs mostly focused on disability (70% of items), and less on body function and structure (23%) or environmental factors (6%). There was high linkage to The Comprehensive Core Set for BC, Q-DASH (100%), UEFI (95%) and DASH (92%). The Core Set Unique Disability Representation for DASH, and WHODAS2 was 39% and BCSQ-BC, Lymph-ICF was 34%. BCSQ-BC, and Lymph-ICF represented 32, and 20% of the content of the Core Set for BC, respectively, however, the other questionnaires covered less than 20% of the content of the Core Set. High quality of evidence supports sufficient results for internal consistency, testretest, and measurement error for BCSQ-BC, Lymph-ICF, DASH and WHODAS2.


    Despite a lack of evidence on all-important clinical measurement, two generic (DASH and WHODAS2) and two disease-specific (BCSQ-BC, Lymph-ICF) PROM demonstrated emerging evidence of adequate measurement properties. The stronger alignment of the BCSQ-BC to the breast cancer ICF core set makes it preferable is a disease-specific measure. The Lymph-ICF is recommended where lymphedema is a specific focus. The DASH and WHODAS2 might be most useful where patients with a variety of upper extremity conditions, including breast cancer survivors, are being evaluated in the clinic or research study.


  • Jamshidi, Farkhondeh
  • Farzad, Maryam
  • MacDermid, Joy
  • Varahra, Azar
  • Hosseini, Seyed Ali
  • Asgarabad, Mojtaba Habibi

publication date

  • May 2022