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The Use of Wearables in Clinical Trials During Cancer Treatment: Systematic Review

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BACKGROUND: Interest in the use of wearables in medical care is increasing. Wearables can be used to monitor different variables, such as vital signs and physical activity. A crucial point for using wearables in oncology is if patients already under the burden of severe disease and oncological treatment can accept and adhere to the device. At present, there are no specific recommendations for the use of wearables in oncology, and little research has examined the purpose of using wearables in oncology.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this review is to explore the use of wearables in clinical trials during cancer treatment, with a special focus on adherence.

METHODS: PubMed and EMBASE databases were searched prior and up to October 3, 2019, with no limitation in the date of publication. The search strategy was aimed at studies using wearables for monitoring adult patients with cancer during active antineoplastic treatment. Studies were screened independently by 2 reviewers by title and abstract, selected for inclusion and exclusion, and the full-text was assessed for eligibility. Data on study design, type of wearable used, primary outcome, adherence, and device outcome were extracted. Results were presented descriptively.

RESULTS: Our systematic search identified 1269 studies, of which 25 studies met our inclusion criteria. The types of cancer represented in the studies were breast (7/25), gastrointestinal (4/25), lung (4/25), and gynecologic (1/25); 9 studies had multiple types of cancer. Oncologic treatment was primarily chemotherapy (17/25). The study-type distribution was pilot/feasibility study (12/25), observational study (10/25), and randomized controlled trial (3/25). The median sample size was 40 patients (range 7-180). All studies used a wearable with an accelerometer. Adherence varied across studies, from 60%-100% for patients wearing the wearable/evaluable sensor data and 45%-94% for evaluable days, but was differently measured and reported. Of the 25 studies, the most frequent duration for planned monitoring with a wearable was 8-30 days (13/25). Topics for wearable outcomes were physical activity (19/25), circadian rhythm (8/25), sleep (6/25), and skin temperature (1/25). Patient-reported outcomes (PRO) were used in 17 studies; of the 17 PRO studies, only 9 studies reported correlations between the wearable outcome and the PRO.

CONCLUSIONS: We found that definitions of outcome measures and adherence varied across studies, and limited consensus among studies existed on which variables to monitor during treatment. Less heterogeneity, better consensus in terms of the use of wearables, and established standards for the definitions of wearable outcomes and adherence would improve comparisons of outcomes from studies using wearables. Adherence, and the definition of such, seems crucial to conclude on data from wearable studies in oncology. Additionally, research using advanced wearable devices and active use of the data are encouraged to further explore the potential of wearables in oncology during treatment. Particularly, randomized clinical studies are warranted to create consensus on when and how to implement in oncological practice.

TidsskriftJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)e22006
StatusUdgivet - 11 nov. 2020

Bibliografisk note

©Ulrikke Lyng Beauchamp, Helle Pappot, Cecilie Holländer-Mieritz. Originally published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth (, 11.11.2020.

ID: 61758860