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Wearable devices such as a wrist actigraph may have a potential to objectively estimate patients’ functioning and may supplement performance status (PS). This proof-of-concept study aimed to evaluate whether actigraphy data are significantly associated with patients’ functioning and are predictive of their survival in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
We collected actigraphy data for a three-day period in ambulatory patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. We computed correlations between actigraphy data (specifically, proportion of time spent immobile while awake) and clinician-rated PS, subjective report of physical activities, quality of life (the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy – Trial Outcome Index), and survival.
Actigraphy data (the proportion of time awake spent immobile) were significantly correlated with Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy – Trial Outcome Index (r = −0.53, p < 0.001) and with the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group PS (ECOG PS) (r = 0.37, p < 0.001). The proportion of time awake spent immobile was significantly associated with worse survival. For each 10% increase in this measure, the hazard ratio (HR) was 1.48 (95% confidence interval [CI95%] = 1.06, 2.06) for overall mortality, and odds ratio was 2.99 (CI95% = 1.27, 7.05) for six-month mortality. ECOG PS was also associated with worse survival (HR = 2.80, CI95% = 1.34, 5.86). Among patients with ECOG PS 0-1, the percentage of time awake spent immobile was significantly associated with worse survival, HR = 1.93 (CI95% = 1.10, 3.42), whereas ECOG PS did not predict survival.
Significance of Results
Actigraphy may have potential to predict important clinical outcomes, such as quality of life and survival, and may serve to supplement PS. Further validation study is warranted.
Early career investigators have few opportunities for targeted training in supportive oncology research. To address this need, we developed, implemented, and evaluated an intensive, six-day workshop on methods in supportive oncology research for trainees and junior faculty across multiple disciplines.
A multidisciplinary team of supportive oncology researchers developed a workshop patterned after the clinical trials workshop offered jointly by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Association of Cancer Research. The curriculum included lectures and a mentored experience of writing a research protocol. Each year since 2015, the workshop has accepted and trained 36 early career investigators. Over the course of the workshop, participants present sections of their research protocols daily in small groups led by senior researchers, and have dedicated time to write and revise these sections. Primary outcomes for the workshop included the frequency of completed protocols by the end of the workshop, a pre- and posttest assessing participant knowledge, and follow-up surveys of the participants and their primary mentors.
Over three years, the workshop received 195 applications; 109 early career researchers were competitively selected to participate. All participants (109/109, 100%) completed writing a protocol by the end of their workshop. Participants and their primary mentors reported significant improvements in their research knowledge and skills. Each year, participants rated the workshop highly in terms of satisfaction, value, and likelihood of recommending it to a colleague. One year after the first workshop, most respondents (29/30, 96.7%) had either submitted their protocol or written at least one other protocol.
Significance of results
We developed a workshop on research methods in supportive oncology. More early career investigators applied for the workshop than capacity, and the workshop was fully attended each year. Both the workshop participants and their primary mentors reported improvement in research skills and knowledge.
Although depression appears to be associated with worse survival from cancer, the underlying mechanisms of this association are unknown. Tumor epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) genotype is a known predictor of survival in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and appears to be associated with depression. We hypothesized that tumor EGFR genotype may account for a relationship between depression and survival in this population. We investigated this possible relationship in a cohort of patients with metastatic NSCLC, in which we had previously demonstrated an association between depression and worse survival.
A cohort of 151 patients with newly diagnosed metastatic NSCLC were enrolled and followed in a randomized controlled trial of early palliative care. At enrollment, 150 had depression assessed with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), and categorical scoring for major depressive syndrome (MDS) was used for analyses. Patients with tumor tissue available underwent EGFR genotyping. Associations with survival were tested using Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for potential confounders.
Twenty-one patients (14.0%) met criteria for MDS. Forty-four patients (29.3%) had EGFR genotyping, and 17 (38.6%) of these harbored EGFR mutations. Patients with EGFR mutations had significantly lower PHQ-9 scores (p = 0.03), and none met criteria for depression. EGFR mutations were significantly associated with superior survival (p = 0.02). When both depression and EGFR genotype were simultaneously entered into the model, only EGFR mutations remained significantly associated with survival (p = 0.02), and the effect of depression was attenuated.
Significance of results:
Depression is associated with worse survival in metastatic NSCLC, and this relationship may be at least partially explained by tumor EGFR genotype. Further study into whether depression could be associated with specific biologic properties of cancer that vary by genotype is warranted.
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