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Treatment decision-making among patients with metastatic prostate cancer: Impact of decision locus of control on functional outcomes and decision satisfaction



Shared decision-making (SDM) for metastatic prostate cancer (mPC) engages patients in the decision-making process and may be associated with better outcomes relative to physician- or patient-directed decision-making. We assessed the association between decision locus of control (DLOC) and patient-reported quality of life (QOL), functional outcomes, and decision satisfaction among mPC patients.


After a clinic visit in which a treatment decision was made (baseline), mPC patients completed DLOC and QOL surveys. QOL was re-assessed at 2- and 4-months post-baseline. Mean scores for each QOL dimension (physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and role functioning) were compared by DLOC group using mixed effects models. Patient preferences for DLOC and provider communication techniques were similarly collected via survey.


Median age of participants (N = 101) was 69 years (range: 49-92); most were White (80%) and married (82%). 62% reported using SDM. At baseline, there were no differences in QOL dimensions between DLOC groups. At 4 months, patient-directed (p = 0.01) and SDM (p = 0.03) were associated with better physical functioning than physician-directed decision-making, and there was an indication of potentially greater decision satisfaction among patients who reported patient-directed (p = 0.06) or SDM (p = 0.10). SDM was the most reported preferred DLOC.


mPC patients reporting SDM had better physical functioning at 4 months than physician- or patient-directed decision-making, suggesting measurable benefit from patient involvement in decision-making. Future investigations of these associations in larger, more diverse populations can further clarify these previously unmeasured benefits of patient engagement in treatment decisions.

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Fig. 1: Patient-reported treatment decision locus of control.
Fig. 2: Patient-reported quality of life.
Fig. 3: Patient-reported decision satisfaction.

Data availability

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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This work was supported by the Department of Defense Physician Research Training Award PC150398.


Department of Defense Physician Research Training Award PC150398 (PI Morgans).

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The authors confirm contribution to the paper as follows: study conception and design: AM, data collection: FS, AM, KM, analysis and interpretation of results: FS, IH, ZS, AM, draft manuscript preparation: FS, JB, LO, BG, KM, AM. All authors reviewed the results and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Alicia K. Morgans.

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BDG reports personal fees from SureMed Compliance, KemPharm, and Elly Health, Inc. unrelated to this work. All other authors declare no competing interests.

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This study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

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Schumacher, F.A., Helenowski, I.B., Sun, Z. et al. Treatment decision-making among patients with metastatic prostate cancer: Impact of decision locus of control on functional outcomes and decision satisfaction. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 26, 201–206 (2023).

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