Helping Patients Communicate With Oncologists When Cancer Treatment Resistance Occurs to Develop, Test, and Implement a Patient Communication Aid: Sequential Collaborative Mixed Methods Study

Nom de la revue
JMIR Research Protocols
Anne Brédart, Aude Rault, Johanna Terrasson, Etienne Seigneur, Leanne De Koning, Elisabeth Hess, Alexia Savignoni, Paul Cottu, Jean-Yves Pierga, Sophie Piperno-Neumann, Manuel Rodrigues, Carole Bouleuc, Sylvie Dolbeault

Most cancer-related deaths result from disseminated diseases that develop resistance to anticancer treatments. Inappropriate communication in this challenging situation may result in unmet patient information and support needs. Patient communication aids such as question prompt lists (QPLs) may help.

This study aims to develop and pilot-test a specific QPL in the following two contrasting clinical contexts in France after cancer resistance has developed: triple-negative and luminal B metastatic breast cancer (MBC) and metastatic uveal melanoma (MUM).

A sequential study design with a mixed methods collaborative approach will be applied. The first step aims to build a specific QPL. Step 1a will explore oncologist-patient communication issues from oncology professionals’ interviews (n=20 approximately). Step 1b will appraise information and support needs experienced by patients with MBC or MUM both quantitatively (n=80) and qualitatively (n=40 approximately). These data will be used to develop and pilot-test a QPL specific to patients with cancer experiencing initial or acquired resistance to treatment. We expect to obtain a core QPL that comprises questions and concerns commonly expressed by patients with resistant cancer and is complemented by specific issues for either MBC or MUM cancer sites. In step 1c, 2 focus groups of patients with any type of metastatic cancer (n=4) and health care professionals (n=4) will be conducted to revise the content of a preliminary QPL and elaborate an acceptable and feasible clinical implementation. In step 1d, the content of the QPL version 1 and implementation guidance will be validated using a Delphi process. Step 2 will pilot-test the QPL version 1 in real practice with patients with MBC or MUM (n=80). Clinical utility will be assessed by comparing responses to questionnaires administered in step 1b (QPL-naive historical control group) and step 2 (QPL intervention group).

This study received grants in March and December 2019 and was approved by the French national ethics committee in July 2019. As of October 2021, interviews with oncology professionals have been conducted and analyzed (N=26 to reach saturation), and 39 and 27 patients with MBC and MUM, respectively, have been recruited.

A clinically and culturally tailored QPL is expected to facilitate patients’ participation in consultations, improve oncologists’ responses to patients’ information and support needs, and thus foster patients’ psychological adjustment to the diagnosis and follow-up of cancer resistance to treatment.

Trial Registration NCT04118062;

International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID)