Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, JAMA / 24.12.2015
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Filippo Montemurro, M.D. Director, Investigative Clinical Oncology (INCO) Fondazione del Piemonte per l'Oncologia Candiolo Cancer Institute (IRCCS) Torino, Italy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Montemurro: The evaluation of treatment-related side effects is a critical step in cancer patient management. It is important in the clinical practice, where the decision to modify doses, omit administrations or establish supportive care measures is based on treatment tolerance and side effects severity and duration. It is also important in the context of clinical trials. In the latter setting, the mere information of the antitumor activity of a new drug or regimen under investigation is worth little if it not accompanied by an accurate reporting of the side effect profile. For this reason, over the years reference protocols to standardize the process of toxicity reporting in clinical trials have been established. The most recent and widespread is the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE), that is issued and constantly updated by the National Cancer Institute. The CTCAE allows the description of the incidence and on the grade of severity on a scale ranging from 0 (no toxicity) to 5 (death due to that toxicity). Normally, the medical or nursing staff data collects information to fill in the CTCAE reports either by interviewing patients or extracting data from the clinical notes taken by physicians. The "indirectness" of this process has consequences that are becoming acknowledged for their potential implications. The incidence and severity of toxicities results often underestimated by doctors when their reports are compared with corresponding reports provided directly by patients without intermediaries (so called Patient reported outcomes-PRO). If this phenomenon is described in the context of clinical trials, it might occur to a greater extent also in the clinical practice, where the process of toxicity reporting is not mandated by a protocol and no reference standard is recommended. Based on these premises, we designed a study to pursue two aims;
- the first was to assess whether a 10-item questionnaire derived by the CTCAE could be used by breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery in the daily clinical practice;
- the second was to compare doctors and patients reports of toxicities at corresponding time-points.