Romano C, Harris N, Gnanasakthy A, D'Alessio D, Chandiwana D. Patient experiences with patient-reported outcome measures in metastatic breast cancer trials: qualitative interviews. J Patient Rep Outcomes. 2022 Jun 3;6(1):60. doi: 10.1186/s41687-022-00460-z

BACKGROUND: Patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures are critical for assessing treatment benefit of anticancer treatments. Although PRO measures have been developed with the intention of capturing patient-centric concepts, a gap exists in understanding the patient experience with these tools. We characterized the experience of patients with metastatic breast cancer (mBC) with PRO measures in an oncology clinical trial setting to determine the importance, relevance, barriers, and facilitators for PRO completion.

METHODS: The multicenter, qualitative design included semistructured interviews with 18 women with mBC who completed PRO measures in a clinical trial setting within 1 year of screening. Interviews began with concept elicitation to understand symptom characterization, decision to participate in a clinical trial, pre-trial expectations, and thoughts on study-related questionnaires. Cognitive debriefing was conducted to determine if items in a commonly used PRO instrument were relevant to the patient experience. Qualitative data were analyzed using a constant comparative approach.

RESULTS: Participants described the need for detailed explanation of PRO measures at study start, including information about how the PRO data will likely be used to support drug development. Respondents who felt connected to clinical trial research were more likely to feel as if the measures adequately captured their experiences. Items that were deemed irrelevant or out of date to the patient experience may cause a respondent to feel marginalized and adds to the overall burden of PRO measure completion. Mode of PRO measure administration (electronic/paper) was important to some, but placement of the instrument completion within a study visit appeared to influence respondent willingness to fully engage with the measures. A lack of any type of feedback loop to allow respondents to learn from the captured PRO data was noted as important but missing from the patient experience.

CONCLUSIONS: PRO measures need to include content that is relevant to the patient experience over the course of the clinical trial period to be considered meaningful to respondents, and administration techniques also impact engagement. Robust communication strategies that socialize the intent, use, and results of PRO data may enrich the patient experience and support greater adherence to PRO completion in future studies.

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