Although immunotherapy treatment (ImT) supposes a great advance for cancer patients, it also presents a challenge to health professionals, not only because of their adverse-event profile differs from chemotherapy or radiotherapy but, because it introduces new areas of clinical practice. All Immunotherapy Clinical Guidelines highlight the importance of prevent adverse effects related-IrAE, education and monitoring patients is crucial. In 2018 the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), along with 4 European oncology institutions launched the VIKHI project, (Virtual International Knowledge Hub in Inmuno-Therapy) to improve care delivery, education of professionals and patients on receiving ImT through a comprehensive training program. Objective: cross-sectional study evaluating knowledge that patients have about their immunotherapy treatment.
From July 2018-March 2019, all patients treated with ImT first time were recruited non-probabilistic sample. They had to answer 10 questions about their knowledge on disease & treatment, and quality of life with EORTC-QLC30 scale. The interviews were conducted by clinical nurse specialist.
A total of 85 patients. By tumors; lung 74.11%, head-neck 7.05%, melanoma 5.88%, renal 3.52% and double tumors 9.41%. They received ImT as part as their standard treatment in 62.35% and 37.64% as clinical trial and in 31.77% were their first treatment. 91.76% patients were knowledgeable about receiving ImT, but only 3.52% were not aware and 4.70% describe Chemo+ImT. About being able to identify complications, diarrhoea was the most described by 25.23%, followed by skin problems by 23.38%, thyroid problems and fever 13.53% and alopecia by 0.30%. Only two patients were unable to identify any. Informed by oncologist 63.5% and by nurses 32.9%. Only 7% of patients considered being fully informed.
Still room to improve about patient education and communication for patients receiving ImT. It would be important to train the HCP’s, especially nurses, so that they can effectively inform and educate patients.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Catalan Institute of Oncology.
Independent Educational Grant from Pfizer IGCL Grant ID: 34096003.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.