Effectiveness of a nursing support program for patients with recurrent ovarian cancer receiving pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Caelyx®/Doxil®)

N. Grenier, V. Lebel, M. Gill, T. Mullen, K. Mitchinson, K. Sebborn, Jean-François Pouliot


Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) has become the preferred alternative for ovarian cancer patients who have failed platinumbased therapy, but side effects, such as palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (PPE), may lead to sub-optimal drug exposure and treatment discontinuation. A prospective Canadian multicentre open-label study evaluated the effects of a nurse-administered education and support program on treatment adherence and tolerability in 112 women with recurrent ovarian cancer. Subjects received an average of four four-week PLD cycles, the recommended number of courses required to evaluate the efficacy from PLD. Side effects were common, but 75% of patients were able to complete > 3 cycles and 59% completed > 4 cycles of PLD chemotherapy. With proactive nursing intervention, the incidence of PLD-associated grade three-four toxicities such as PPE and mucositis was substantially decreased. Nursing intervention may allow more patients to receive chemotherapy on schedule, thus reproducing the conditions of the clinical study in which the efficacy of the drug has been established.

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