“One more chance to survive”: the experiences of patients with advanced melanoma and their partners with tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy—a qualitative study and recommendations for future care

M. D. Egeler*, E. Boomstra, M. W. Rohaan, N. M.J. Van den Heuvel, I. Fraterman, M. Delfos, L. V. van de Poll-Franse, T. H. Borch, I. M. Svane, J. B.A.G. Haanen, V. P. Retèl, A. H. Boekhout

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Patients with advanced melanoma refractory to first-line treatment have a need for effective second-line treatment options. A recent phase 3 trial showed promising results for adoptive cell therapy with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) as second-line therapy in patients with advanced melanoma. However, it remains unknown how patients and their partners experience TIL therapy, which is key to evaluate and improve the quality of care. Methods: Semi-structured interviews about the experience of TIL therapy were conducted with patients with advanced melanoma and their partners 2–4 weeks post-treatment (short term) and >6 months after treatment (long term). Results: In total, 25 interviews were conducted with advanced melanoma patients treated with TIL (n=13) and their partners (n=12), with the majority being short-term interviews (n=17). Overall, patients and partners experienced TIL therapy as intense (uncertainty of successful TIL culture, multiple treatment-related toxicities, and extensive hospitalization). Patients and partners with young children or other caregiving responsibilities encountered the most challenges during TIL therapy. All patients, however, reported a recovery of all treatment-related toxicities within 2–4 weeks (except fatigue). Conclusion: Clinical data justify the role of TIL therapy in the treatment of advanced melanoma. With the distinct nature of TIL therapy compared to the current standard of care, we have provided patient-centered recommendations that will further enhance the quality of TIL therapy. Implications for Cancer Survivors: As more patients with advanced melanoma are expected to receive TIL therapy in the future, our findings could be incorporated into survivorship care plans for this novel group of advanced melanoma survivors treated with TIL.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this research was provided by Amgen, Asher Bio, BioNTech, BMS, MSD, Novartis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

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