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08.07.2020 | Original Research | Ausgabe 8/2020 Open Access

Advances in Therapy 8/2020

Patient Burden and Real-World Management of Chemotherapy-Induced Myelosuppression: Results from an Online Survey of Patients with Solid Tumors

Advances in Therapy > Ausgabe 8/2020
Robert S. Epstein, Matti S. Aapro, Upal K. Basu Roy, Tehseen Salimi, JoAnn Krenitsky, Megan L. Leone-Perkins, Cynthia Girman, Courtney Schlusser, Jeffrey Crawford
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To view digital features for this article go to https://​doi.​org/​10.​6084/​m9.​figshare.​12488759.



Chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression (CIM) is one of the most common dose-limiting complications of cancer treatment, and is associated with a range of debilitating symptoms that can significantly impact patients’ quality of life. The purpose of this study was to understand patients’ perspectives on how the side effects of CIM are managed in routine clinical practice.


An online survey was conducted of participants with breast, lung, or colorectal cancer who had received chemotherapy treatment within the past 12 months, and had experienced at least one episode of myelosuppression in the past year. The survey was administered with predominantly close-ended questions, and lay definitions of key terms were provided to aid response selection.


Of 301 participants who completed the online survey, 153 (51%) had breast cancer, 100 (33%) had lung cancer, and 48 (16%) had colorectal cancer. Anemia, neutropenia, lymphopenia, and thrombocytopenia were reported by 61%, 59%, 37%, and 34% of participants, respectively. Most participants (79%) reported having received treatment for CIM, and 64% of participants recalled chemotherapy dose modifications as a result of CIM. Although most participants believed their oncologist was aware of the side effects of CIM, and treated them quickly, 30% of participants felt their oncologists did not understand how uncomfortable they were due to the side effects of CIM. Overall, 88% of participants considered CIM to have a moderate or major impact on their lives.


The data highlight that despite the various methods used to address CIM, and the patient-focused approach of oncologists, the real-world impact of CIM on patients is substantial. Improving communication between patients and health care providers may help improve patients’ understanding of CIM, and foster shared decision-making in terms of treatment. Additional insights from patients should be obtained to further elucidate the totality of life burden associated with CIM.

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