CONTEXT: Taste, smell, and mouthfeel disturbances are underrated and underreported, but important side effects of anti-cancer medication. These symptoms are associated with a lower quality of life (QoL). The prevalence and the impact of taste, smell, and mouthfeel disturbances on daily life in patients with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) are largely unknown.
OBJECTIVES: This exploratory study assessed the prevalence and type of taste, smell, and mouthfeel disturbances and their impact on daily life and QoL in patients with a GIST treated with a tyrosine-kinase inhibitor (TKI).
METHODS: Patients currently treated with TKIs for GIST completed a standardized questionnaire. The questionnaire addressed changes in taste, smell, and mouthfeel and, if changes occurred, impact on daily life and QoL. Statistics are descriptive.
RESULTS: A total of 65 GIST patients on TKI treatment completed the questionnaire. Of these patients, 79%, 12%, and 9% currently used imatinib, sunitinib, and regorafenib respectively. Taste, smell, and mouthfeel disturbances were reported by 25 (38%), 15 (23%), and 36 (55%) patients respectively. Salty and sweet tastes were mostly affected, respectively in 14 and 13 patients. A dry mouth was experienced by 29 (45%) patients. Taste disturbances were more often reported to have impact on daily life and QoL (80% and 60%) than smell (47% and 31%) and mouthfeel disturbances (47% and 30%).
CONCLUSION: Taste, smell, and mouthfeel disturbances are frequent side effects of TKIs in GIST patients. Daily life and QoL are affected in a considerable number of those patients.