Background. Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are increasingly recognized as a valuable component to understand treatment tolerability and toxicity among patients on clinical trials. We have implemented a system for monitoring patient reported outcomes (PROs), symptoms, and quality of life (QOL) using electronic PRO (ePRO) instruments for patients enrolled in the I-SPY2 trial. I-SPY2 is a phase II multi-site clinical trial evaluating the effect of novel neoadjuvant therapies for locally advanced breast cancer. We correlated patient demographic factors with symptoms, investigated the trajectory of symptoms throughout treatment, and sought to characterize symptoms associated with decline in physical function (PF).
Methods. Our study population included 259 I-SPY2 patients that completed surveys on one of 9 study arms (including novel oral taxane/immunotherapy combinations, IV paclitaxel, checkpoint inhibitor+/- LAG3 inhibitor, and control IV paclitaxel +/- trastuzumab/pertuzumab). After the 12 week period of investigational agents, most patients received standard adriamycin and cyclophosphamide (AC). Symptom severity, frequency, and interference was assessed weekly using 33 items from the PRO-CTCAE item bank. PF was assessed using the NIH PROMIS instrument and was evaluated at baseline, inter-regimen (after 12 weeks of treatment), pre-surgery, and 1 and 6 months at follow-up. An odds ratio was used to assess univariate associations between age and race, and symptoms. Regularized multi-variate regression was used to evaluate early symptoms (prior to week 6) predictive of a clinically significant (>5 point T-score) decline in PF from baseline to post-treatment follow-up among all races and age groups.
Results. Of 259 patients (mean age (SD) = 46.8 (13.6)), 160 (58%) were White, 13 (5%) were Asian, 26 (10%) were African American (AA), 25 (9.3%) were Hispanic, and 35 (13.5%) self-reported “Other”. At baseline, AA patients had a higher severity of joint pain than White patients (OR = 14.9, P < 0.05). During study treatment with paclitaxel and/or novel agent within the first 12 weeks of treatment, AA patients and non-white (NW) patients were more likely to report severe vomiting than White patients (OR =13.22 and 12.72, P< 0.05 and P< 0.03 respectively). During treatment with AC, NW patients were more likely to report higher severity of neuropathy than White patients (OR = 5.43, P< 0.03). Among all patients, in analysis of early symptoms predictive of a clinically significant decline in PF between baseline and 1 month post treatment, predictors included high frequency of diarrhea, severity of itching, and severity of joint pain. Further analysis of symptom trajectories revealed that frequency of diarrhea reported rose sharply between baseline and Cycle 2 with 9 patients (7%) reporting occasional or frequent diarrhea to 39 patients (28%) reporting occasional to almost constant diarrhea and remained stable at that proportion for the remainder of treatment. Frequency of diarrhea declined slightly during AC (17%) and dropped to baseline levels by follow-up. In contrast, severity of joint pain persisted post-treatment, rising consistently from baseline through follow- up with 3 patients (2%) reporting moderate to severe joint pain at baseline to 18 patients (35%) reporting moderate to severe joint pain at follow-up.
Conclusion. Among I-SPY2 participants, when higher grade of diarrhea is persistent (or uncontrolled), it impacts physical function even after end of therapy. In some cases, race was also a determinant in symptom trajectory, although a higher enrollment of AA and NW patients will enable more robust estimates to be computed. While some of these early symptom predictors are transient and resolve by the time of follow-up, others persist long-term and contribute more directly towards impaired physical function at follow-up.