A personalized decision aid for prostate cancer shared decision making

Hilary P. Bagshaw, Alejandro Martinez, Nastaran Heidari, David Scheinker, Alan Pollack, Radka Stoyanova, Eric Horwitz, Gerard Morton, Amar U. Kishan, Mark K. Buyyounouski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A shared decision-making model is preferred for engaging prostate cancer patients in treatment decisions. However, the process of assessing an individual’s preferences and values is challenging and not formalized. The purpose of this study is to develop an automated decision aid for patient-centric treatment decision-making using decision analysis, preference thresholds and value elicitations to maximize the compatibility between a patient’s treatment expectations and outcome. Methods: A template for patient-centric medical decision-making was constructed. The inputs included prostate cancer risk group, pre-treatment health state, treatment alternatives (primarily focused on radiation in this model), side effects (erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, nocturia and bowel incontinence), and treatment success (5-year freedom from biochemical failure). A linear additive value function was used to combine the values for each attribute (side effects, success and the alternatives) into a value for all prospects. The patient-reported toxicity probabilities were derived from phase II and III trials. The probabilities are conditioned on the starting state for each of the side effects. Toxicity matrices for erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, nocturia and bowel incontinence were created for the treatment alternatives. Toxicity probability thresholds were obtained by identifying the patient’s maximum acceptable threshold for each of the side effects. Results are represented as a visual. R and Rstudio were used to perform analyses, and R Shiny for application creation. Results: We developed a web-based decision aid. Based on preliminary use of the application, every treatment alternative could be the best choice for a decision maker with a particular set of preferences. This result implies that no treatment has determinist dominance over the remaining treatments and that a preference-based approach can help patients through their decision-making process, potentially affecting compliance with treatment, tolerance of side effects and satisfaction with the decision. Conclusions: We present a unique patient-centric prostate cancer treatment decision aid that systematically assesses and incorporates a patient’s preferences and values to rank treatment options by likelihood of achieving the preferred outcome. This application enables the practice and study of personalized medicine. This model can be expanded to include additional inputs, such as genomics, as well as competing, concurrent or sequential therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number374
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Decision aid
  • Personalized medicine
  • Prostate cancer
  • Radiation therapy preference based decisions
  • Shared decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics


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