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Cancer patients and doctors report drug side effects differently
Date:11/17/2009

In clinical trials for cancer, it is standard for clinicians rather than patients to report adverse symptom side effects from treatments, such as nausea and fatigue. At present, patient self-reporting, although important, is not a well studied source of this information. A new longitudinal study from researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center finds that while clinicians' and patients' reporting of treatment side effects are very different from each other, together they provide a more complete, clinically meaningful picture of the treatment experience.

The research was published online November 17 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Ethan Basch, MD, a medical oncologist and member of the Health Outcomes Group at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and colleagues, led an analysis of data gathered from more than 160 advanced lung cancer patients and their clinicians. All of the patients were treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

The patients, both men and women with a median age of 63, were followed from 2005 to 2006 through an average of 12 office visits. All received chemotherapy during this time. Researchers tracked six common symptoms--fatigue, pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation--and compared the side effects reported by the clinicians to those reported by the patients. The clinicians reported symptoms using the standard adverse event reporting tool for oncology trials, the National Cancer Institute's Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE.) Patients reported symptoms using a simplified version of the same reporting tool via a computer-based system.

Patients generally reported adverse symptoms earlier, more frequently, and with greater severity than their clinicians, and their responses appeared to better reflect real-time suffering. Patient-reported symptoms were more closely related to day-to-day health status, while clinicians' reports were more predictive of significant medical events. "T
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Contact: Jeanne DAgostino
dagostij@mskcc.org
212-639-3573
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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