Implementation of a Nurse-driven Educational Program Improves Management of Sorafenib’s Toxicities in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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Abstract

Background:

Sorafenib is the standard treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Because of its unique toxicities, improving patients’ tolerance merits close follow-up. Nurses can play a crucial role by leading a patient educational program (EP).

Objectives:

The aim of this study was to assess whether adding EP to usual care (UC) improves patient’s care.

Methods:

Since 2011, oncologists referred patients treated by sorafenib to the EP led by clinical nurses. The EP included a visit before the first administration, weekly telephone calls, and a visit with the nurse before each oncologist consultation. We retrospectively compared patients in the EP with those in UC followed by an oncologist and patients included in a clinical trial.

Results:

Since 2005, 129 patients were treated with sorafenib for hepatocellular carcinoma: 31 in the EP (24%), 22 in a clinical trial (17%), and 76 with UC (59%). Seventy-one percent of the patients in the EP had toxicities identified during a telephone call, which prompted symptomatic measures in 65% of the patients, leading to treatment modification before the planned on-site visit in 29% of the patients. Educational program patients required fewer dose reductions (39% vs 61% for UC, P = .04), and median time to first dose reduction was shorter with EP than with UC (25 vs 45 days, P = .036).

Conclusions:

This study suggests a clinical benefit of EP related to improved toxicity management of sorafenib that resulted in fewer dose reductions.

Implications for Practice:

Patients treated with sorafenib may benefit from an EP. Different types of EP should be compared prospectively, focusing on patients’ quality of life.

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