Follow-Up of Cancer Patients Receiving Anti-PD-(L)1 Therapy Using an Electronic Patient-Reported Outcomes Tool (KISS): Prospective Feasibility Cohort Study

Sanna Iivanainen, Tuomo Alanko, Pia Vihinen, Teemu Konkola, Jussi Ekstrom, Henri Virtanen, Jussi Koivunen
JMIR Formative Research 2020 October 28, 4 (10): e17898

BACKGROUND: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have become a standard of care for various tumor types. Their unique spectrum of side effects demands continuous and long-lasting assessment of symptoms. Electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) follow-up has been shown to improve survival and quality of life of cancer patients treated with chemotherapy.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate whether ePRO follow-up of cancer patients treated with ICIs is feasible. The study analyzed (1) the variety of patient reported symptoms, (2) etiology of alerts, (3) symptom correlations, and (4) patient compliance.

METHODS: In this prospective, one-arm, multi-institutional study, we recruited adult cancer patients whose advanced cancer was treated with anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD)- ligand (L)1 agents in outpatient settings. The ePRO tool consisted of a weekly questionnaire evaluating the presence of typical side effects, with an algorithm assessing the severity of the symptom according to National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events and an urgency algorithm sending alerts to the care team. A patient experience survey was conducted monthly. The patients were followed up to 6 months or until disease progression.

RESULTS: A total of 889 symptom questionnaires was completed by 37 patients (lung cancer, n=15; melanoma, n=9; genitourinary cancer, n=9; head and neck cancer, n=4). Patients showed good adherence to ePRO follow-up. The most common grade 1 symptoms were fatigue (28%) and itching (13%), grade 2 symptoms were loss of appetite (12%) and nausea (12%), and grade 3-4 symptoms were cough (6%) and loss of appetite (4%). The most common reasons for alerts were loss of appetite and shortness of breath. In the treatment benefit analysis, positive correlations were seen between clinical benefit and itching as well as progressive disease and chest pain.

CONCLUSIONS: According to the results, ePRO follow-up of cancer patients receiving ICIs is feasible. ePROs capture a wide range of symptoms. Some symptoms correlate to treatment benefit, suggesting that individual prediction models could be generated.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical Trials Register, NCT3928938;

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