Table 1

Study characteristics

First author
CountryStudy designStudy aimsStudy populationSource*Age in years, median (IQR)
Leighl et al18Australia and CanadaRCTEvaluate the impact of a decision aid207 patients with advanced, incurable metastatic colorectal cancer
13 medical oncologists
RPatients in the control group: 62.5
Patients in the intervention group: 61
Hollen et al40USAProspective descriptive studyExplore the feasibility and acceptability of a decision aid
Present clinical profiles of patients and their supporters dealing with cancer treatment
80 patients with solid tumours (22 with newly diagnosed breast cancer, 19 with advanced prostate cancer, and 39 with advanced lung cancer)
80 patient supporters
10 Healthcare professionals (nurses and physicians)
RBoth patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer and their supporters: 55
Patients with advanced prostate cancer: 72, their caregivers: 60
Patients with advanced lung cancer: 62, supporters: 56
Walczak et al37Australia and USAQualitative
(focus group and interviews)
Explore acceptability, perceived benefits and challenges of using a question prompt list facilitating discussion of end-of-life care
Determine the necessity of country-specific adaptations of the QPL
34 patients with advanced, incurable cancer and a life expectancy <12 months (15 Australian patients, 19 US patients)
13 oncology and palliative care health professionals (7 Australian professionals, 6 US professionals)
SAustralian patients: 68 (54–86)
US patients: 58 (34–75)
Australian healthcare professionals: 45 (39–50)
US healthcare professionals: N/A
Yeh et al38USAQuantitative, non-randomisedAssess feasibility of a question prompt list in oncology consultations27 patients with advanced or metastatic head and neck cancer (stage III/IV)SPatients: 57 (35–87)
Walczak et al36AustraliaQualitativeExplore nurse-led communication support programme with question prompt list that promotes end-of-life discussions31 patients (life expectancy <12 months) with advanced, incurable cancer
11 informal caregivers
SPatients: 63 (33–85)
Caregivers: 62 (36–75)
Walczak et al35AustraliaRCT
(parallel group)
Evaluate efficacy of a nurse-facilitated communication support programme for patients with advanced, incurable cancer110 patients (life expectancy <12 months) with advanced, incurable cancerSPatients 64 (33–88)
Henselmans et al39The NetherlandsMixed methodsExamine patients’ and relatives’ views on patient communication aid for supporting decision making.
Examine whether the aid has adverse effects on patients’ well-being
31 patients with advanced cancer and life expectancy <12 months (13 patients in study 1, 18 patients in study 2)
14 relatives (study 1)
6 oncologists (study 2)
EPatients study 1: 64 (35–74). Relatives 45 (18–69)
Patients study 2: 62 (41–75)
  • Source: S=Systematic search, E=experts, R=reference lists.

  • N/A, not available; QPL, question prompt list; RCT, randomised controlled trial.