Symptoms reported by gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) patients on imatinib treatment: combining questionnaire and forum data

Dide den Hollander, Anne R. Dirkson, Suzan Verberne, Wessel Kraaij, Gerard van Oortmerssen, Hans Gelderblom, Astrid Oosten, Anna K.L. Reyners, Neeltje Steeghs, Winette T.A. van der Graaf, Ingrid M.E. Desar, Olga Husson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose: Treatment with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) imatinib in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) causes symptoms that could negatively impact health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Treatment-related symptoms are usually clinician-reported and little is known about patient reports. We used survey and online patient forum data to investigate (1) prevalence of patient-reported symptoms; (2) coverage of symptoms mentioned on the forum by existing HRQoL questionnaires; and (3) priorities of prevalent symptoms in HRQoL assessment. Methods: In the cross-sectional population-based survey study, Dutch GIST patients completed items from the EORTC QLQ-C30 and Symptom-Based Questionnaire (SBQ). In the forum study, machine learning algorithms were used to extract TKI side-effects from English messages on an international online forum for GIST patients. Prevalence of symptoms related to imatinib treatment in both sources was calculated and exploratively compared. Results: Fatigue and muscle pain or cramps were reported most frequently. Seven out of 10 most reported symptoms (i.e. fatigue, muscle pain or cramps, facial swelling, joint pain, skin problems, diarrhoea, and oedema) overlapped between the two sources. Alopecia was frequently mentioned on the forum, but not in the survey. Four out of 10 most reported symptoms on the online forum are covered by the EORTC QLQ-C30. The EORTC-SBQ and EORTC Item Library cover 9 and 10 symptoms, respectively. Conclusion: This first overview of patient-reported imatinib-related symptoms from two data sources helps to determine coverage of items in existing questionnaires, and prioritize HRQoL issues. Combining cancer-generic instruments with treatment-specific item lists will improve future HRQoL assessment in care and research in GIST patients using TKI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5137-5146
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number6
Early online date2 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The survey study was partly funded by a research grant from Novartis (grant no. 006.18). The forum study was funded by a research grant from the SIDN fund (grant no. 174054). D. den Hollander is supported by a research grant from the EORTC Quality of Life Group (grant no. 003–2018). O. Husson is supported by a VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (VIDI198.007). These funding sources did not have any involvement in the conduction of this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


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