Patients in phase 1 cancer trials: psychological distress and understanding of trial information

Katrine T Gad*, Ulrik Lassen, Anne K Duun-Henriksen, Susanne O Dalton, Morten Mau-Sørensen, Pernille E Bidstrup, Beverley L Høeg, Kristoffer S Rohrberg, Iben Spanggaard, Annika von Heymann, Christoffer Johansen

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde
1 Citationer (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Psychological distress may be present among patients who are considering enrollment in phase 1 cancer trials, as they have advanced cancer and no documented treatment options remain. However, the prevalence of psychological distress has not been previously investigated in larger cohorts. In complex phase 1 cancer trials, it is important to ensure adequate understanding of the study premises, such as the undocumented effects and the risk of adverse events.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In a prospective study, patients completed questionnaires at two time points. We investigated psychological distress, measured as stress, anxiety, and depression, among patients at their first visit to the phase 1 unit (N = 229). Further, we investigated the understanding of trial information among patients who were enrolled in a phase 1 cancer trial (N = 57).

RESULTS: We enrolled 75% of 307 eligible patients. We found a lower mean score of stress in our population compared to population norms, while the mean scores of anxiety and depression were higher. A total of 9% showed moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and 11% showed moderate to severe symptoms of depression, which indicates higher levels than cancer patients in general. A total of 46 (81% of enrolled patients) completed questionnaires on trial information and consent. The understanding of the information on phase 1 cancer trials in these patients was slightly lower than the level reported for cancer trials in general. Some aspects relating to purpose, benefit, and additional risks were understood by fewer than half of the patients.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that distress is not as prevalent in the population of patients referred to phase 1 cancer trials as in the general cancer population. Although patients' understanding of trial information was reasonable, some aspects of complex phase 1 cancer trials were not easily understood by enrolled patients.

TidsskriftActa Oncologica
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)341-348
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 2022


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