What matters most to lung cancer patients?


Several treatment options are available for non-small lung cancer, which is what 85 % of all lung cancer patients suffer from. With different benefits, risks, and uncertainties related to each treatment option, finding out what is most valuable to patients can help support decision-making. A recent PREFER publication reveals what treatment aspects lung cancer patients find most important and as a result will be included in an upcoming preference survey that investigates how patients make trade-offs between treatment options.

“We have found that patients consider both positive and negative treatment effects, as well as the uncertainties about positive and negative treatment effects. For example, whether or not they will be able to maintain daily functioning, if the treatment will increase their life expectancy, how long it will last and whether they will suffer fatigue as a result of their treatment,” says Rosanne Janssens, co-author of a recent Frontiers in Pharmacology paper.

Previously, what treatment characteristics should be included in preference surveys exploring lung cancer patients’ preferences have been identified by researchers and clinicians. PREFER researchers are now asking patients that have undergone lung cancer treatment what they think is most important, and developing their preference survey based on the patient perspective.

 “The results of this qualitative work will set the foundation for our upcoming patient preference survey, where we will explore what trade-offs patients make between treatments. Hopefully, this can support future decision making,” says Serena Petrocchi, another co-author.

The potential value of using patient preference studies has been recognised in clinical individual treatment decision-making between clinicians and patients, as well as in upstream drug decision-making by drug developers, regulators, reimbursement and Health Technology Assessment (HTA) bodies. Understanding patient preferences may be especially relevant for deciding between treatment options for patients with non-small cell lung cancer, where a variety of options with different characteristics raises uncertainty about what matters most to patients.

By Anna Holm

Petrocchi S, Janssens R, et al. What Matters Most to Lung Cancer Patients? A Qualitative Study in Italy and Belgium to Investigate Patient Preferences, Frontiers in Pharmacology, March 2021, DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2021.602112

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Last modified: 2021-11-10