Trials with patient-reported outcomes registered on the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR)

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It is important to understand the number, types and regions of trials that include patient-reported outcomes (PROs) to appreciate how patient experiences have been considered in studies of health and interventions. Twenty-seven percent of trials registered with (2007–2013) included PROs; however, a regional breakdown was not provided and no reviews have been conducted of the Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR). We aimed to identify trials registered with ANZCTR with PRO endpoints and describe their characteristics.


ANZCTR was systematically searched from inception (2005) to 31 March 2017 for trials with PRO endpoints. Search terms included PRO measures listed in Patient-Reported Outcomes Quality of Life Instrument Database and Grid-Enabled Measures, as well as generic PRO terms (e.g. “quality of life” (QOL)). Trial endpoints were individually coded using an established framework to identify trials with PROs for the analysis.


Of 13,666 registered trials, 6168 (45.1%) included a PRO. The proportion of studies including PROs increased between 2006 and 2016 (r = 0.74, p = 0.009). Among the 6168 trials, there were 17,961 individual PRO endpoints, including symptoms/functional outcomes/condition-specific QOL (65.6%), generic QOL (13.2%), patient-reported experiences (9.9%), patient-reported behaviours (7.9%). Mental health was the most common category (99.8% included PROs), followed by physical medicine/rehabilitation (65.6%), musculoskeletal (63.5%), public health (63.1%), and cancer (54.2%).


Our findings suggest growing use of PROs in the assessment of health and interventions in ANZ. Our review identifies trial categories with limited patient-reported information and provides a basis for future work on the impact of PRO findings in clinical care.

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Change history

  • 16 July 2018

    In the original publication of the article, the sentence “The ANZCTR is the fifth largest trial registry internationally, with 21,330 registered trials as at January 2018 [5]” in the Introduction section was published incorrectly.


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We acknowledge ANZCTR for providing access to the study data and in-kind support, and Thuyen Vu (ANZCTR) for assistance with the search strategy and data retrieval. This paper was reviewed and endorsed by the International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL) Board of Directors as an ISOQOL publication and does not reflect an endorsement of the ISOQOL membership.

Data availability

While we do not have permission to reproduce ANZCTR data used in this analysis, the ANZCTR database is publically and freely available at Trials registered on the ANZCTR are invited to provide a Universal Trial Number (UTN)—a unique number which aims to facilitate the unambiguous identification of clinical trials registered in Primary Registries in the WHO Registry Network. Obtaining a UTN is not mandatory for registration in the ANZCTR. ANZCTR trials that provide a UTN are displayed on the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) Search Portal in addition to the ANZCTR website.

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Correspondence to Rebecca Mercieca-Bebber.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

In accordance with the University of Sydney’s (sponsor) ethical procedures, this research did not include human research participants and therefore human research ethics approval was not required

Informed consent

We obtained permission from the ANZCTR to conduct this research. No human research participants were involved in this study, and therefore informed consent was not required.

Research involving human participants

No human data were included in this analysis.

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Mercieca-Bebber, R., Williams, D., Tait, M. et al. Trials with patient-reported outcomes registered on the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR). Qual Life Res 27, 2581–2591 (2018).

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  • Patient-reported outcomes
  • Quality of life
  • Clinical trial registration
  • Clinical trial endpoint
  • Patient-reported outcome measures