Medical oncologist Debra Patt, MD, MBA, MPH, vice president of Texas Oncology in Austin, said that the assessment of duration of AEs, as opposed to their prevalence, becomes useful for many patients who are on targeted therapies for prolonged periods of time.

“If you are on a therapy for many months or years, assessing how the adverse event affects your quality of life overall becomes much more important,” Dr Patt told Cancer Therapy Advisor. “There is a need to improve upon the standard assessments of AEs when patients are on chronic therapy for a prolonged period of time. Assessment of quality-adjusted life years or incorporating a quality of life assessment is an important part of toxicity that has been missing from many standard assessments.”

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According to Dr Patt, many clinical oncology trials attempt to complement their assessments with patient-reported outcome instruments, which is helpful progress. Mateusz Opyrchal, MD, PhD, assistant professor of oncology in the Department of Medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo New York, said that the field of oncology has seen tremendous discoveries leading to increased treatment choices for patients with metastatic solid tumors. A major shift has since occurred in how some metastatic cancers are viewed and managed.

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“With multiple treatment choices, the decision to choose specific treatment is often based on toxicity profile. As the survival of patients with metastatic disease increases, the quality of their lives becomes increasingly important. We need better methods for measuring toxicities and patient quality of life in our clinical trials to better inform clinicians and their patients. The Q-TWiST statistical method offers a potential benefit of incorporating quality of life into comparisons of treatments, which might provide additional information about tolerance of treatment in addition to efficacy,” Dr Opyrchal concluded.


  1. Cabarrou B, Boher JM, Bogart E, Tresch-Bruneel E, Penel N, Ravaud A. How to report toxicity associated with targeted therapies? Ann Oncol. 2016. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdw218.