Management of skin toxicity caused by epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors: an evidence-based implementation project

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Abstract

Background:

Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors (EGFRIs) bind to and inhibit epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) in cancer cells, slowing/preventing tumor growth. As a type of “targeted therapy”, they have demonstrated therapeutic effects on solid tumors including colorectal, lung, and head and neck cancers. While effective, various skin reactions are associated with EGFRI therapy which can lead to dose modification or discontinuation as well as discomfort, pain and reduced quality of life. With adequate knowledge and skills, EGFRI-induced skin toxicity can be effectively managed collaboratively by clinicians and people affected by cancer.

Objectives:

This project aimed to improve management of skin toxicity caused by EGFRIs by implementing evidence-informed practice within a chemotherapy department.

Methods:

Evidence-informed recommendations for practice and corresponding audit criteria were developed based on a series of literature reviews. Current practice was reviewed against these criteria with 19 nurses and 21 patients within a chemotherapy department. Barriers to adherence to evidence-informed practice were identified and strategies to improve compliance were implemented with clinicians and patients. A follow-up audit against the criteria was used to measure changes in clinical practice.

Results:

Multiple strategies for getting research into practice appear to have been successful. The follow-up audit demonstrated large improvements in compliance across all audit criteria in comparison with baseline results with all but one criterion achieving 100% compliance. Low rates of suspected infection meant that clinical practice could not be measured for criterion 7.

Conclusions:

Auditing current practice and implementation of strategies to improve compliance with evidence-informed practice were effective. Sustaining these improvements is vital to ensure clinical practice continues to support better patient outcomes.

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