Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Patient reported outcomes and patient experiences of immune checkpoint modulators for advanced or recurrent melanoma: a mixed methods study.

PURPOSE: Little is known about late and long-term patient-reported outcomes (PROs) of immune checkpoint modulators (ICMs) outside clinical trials. We conducted a cross-sectional, mixed-methods study to describe long-term PROs among advanced melanoma patients who began standard of care treatment with ICMs at least 1 year previously.

METHODS: All participants completed the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Immune Checkpoint Modulator (FACT-ICM), assessing 46 immune-related side effects on a 5-point Likert scale, and a subset completed individual interviews. Descriptive statistics were computed for quantitative data and applied thematic analysis was used to examine qualitative data.

RESULTS: Participants (N = 80) had a mean age of 67 years, and the majority were male (66%), non-Hispanic White (96%), and college graduates (61%). Single-agent nivolumab was the most common first (47%) and current/recent ICM (64%). On the FACT-ICM, 98% of participants reported at least one side effect, and 78% reported moderate or severe side effects. The most common moderate or severe side effects were aching joints (43%) and fatigue (38%). In interviews (n = 20), we identified five themes regarding patients' longer-term experiences after ICMs: lasting fatigue or decline in functioning, minimal side effects, manageable thyroid and pituitary dysfunction, skin conditions can be difficult to manage, and treating the cancer is worth the side effects.

CONCLUSIONS: Nearly all patients reported side effects of ICMs at least 1 year after starting treatment. Our findings suggest that ICM side effect screening and management-especially for aching joints and fatigue-are indicated during long-term care of people living with advanced melanoma.

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