Conference Coverage

Web app boosts lung cancer survival

Key clinical point: A Web-based app improves survival for advanced lung cancer patients.

Major finding: Survival improved by 26% for web-app patients vs. controls.

Data source: Multicenter, prospective, phase III, randomized trial of 121 patients.

Disclosures: Dr. Denis has received honoraria and expenses from several pharmaceutical companies and has received institutional research funding from Sivan. Dr. Patricia Ganz reported stock and other ownership interest in Abbott Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and Teva.




CHICAGO – A simple Web-based mobile application (web-app) improved survival time and quality of life of patients with advanced lung cancer, according to a randomized study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The study was stopped at the planned interim survival analysis that occurred after 121 evaluable patients because of survival benefit favoring the web-app arm. The application, called Moovcare, allowed patients to report symptoms over time and stay in close touch with their care providers after their initial surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.

Dr. Fabrice Denis

Dr. Fabrice Denis

“The 1-year survival was 75% in the Moovcare vs. 49% in the control arm,” said lead author Dr. Fabrice Denis of the Institut Inter-régional de Cancérologie Jean Bernard in LeMans, France, in a press conference.

Dr. Denis identified several reasons why a web-app could be useful in treating patients with lung cancer. Even with more than 1 million lung cancer deaths a year worldwide, there is no standard follow-up, and relapses do not occur on a 3 or 6-month schedule of planned visits. So patients often wait several weeks until their next visit to report symptoms indicative of a relapse. They may also be reluctant to report symptoms because of shame over how they contracted the disease, for example, from smoking. And patients are often hesitant to “bother” the doctor with symptoms between visits. All these reasons can contribute to suboptimal therapy and worse outcomes.

Investigators designed Moovcare to allow patients to report symptoms weekly, facilitating early detection of relapse or dangerous medical conditions and triggering early supportive care. They compared the web-app to a control of usual, nonpersonalized follow-up in a French multicenter prospective, randomized trial.

Patients (n = 121) with stage II/node-positive to stage IV (90% stage III/IV) nonprogressive small cell or non–small cell lung cancer were randomly assigned 1:1 to the two arms of the trial. They had to have Internet access, prior experience with email, performance status of 0-2, and an initial symptom score less than 7. Patients could be taking tyrosine kinase inhibitors or on maintenance therapy. Monitoring visits were the same for both groups every 3 months or more frequently. Patients in the control arm received more frequent computed tomographic (CT) imaging than did ones in the web-app arm, and CT scans could be performed at any time in either group based on the investigator’s clinical judgment, or in the case of the web-app, as suggested by patient report in the algorithm.

The median follow up was 9 months. Relapse rates were close to 50% for both groups. The 1-year survival of 75% in the Moovcare to 49% in the control arm gave a 1-year absolute survival increase of 26%. Median survival was 19 months vs. 12 months, a 7-month improvement in median survival for the Moovcare arm. The hazard ratio for death in the web-app arm, compared with the control arm was 0.325 (95% confidence interval, 0.157-0.672; P = .0025).

When they relapsed, 77% of patients in the web-app arm had a good performance status, compared with 33% in the control arm. “This led to 74% of patients receiving optimal therapy in the Moovcare arm vs. 33% in the control arm,” Dr. Denis said. “And the number of imaging [procedures] was reduced by 50% per patient per year.”

Overall quality of life was better in the web-app arm, as assessed using standard quality of life questionnaires.

Moovcare works by having patients or their relatives report 12 symptoms weekly (for example, asthenia, cough, dyspnea, anorexia, etc.) using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. An algorithm analyzes an association of symptoms and triggers email alerts to health care providers if relapse or dangerous medical conditions may be occurring. Providers follow up alerts by phone and schedule visits and imaging. “The sensitivity of the algorithm was high and was validated in two prospective studies,” Dr. Denis said. Sensitivity was 86%-100%.

Moovcare allowed earlier detection of relapse and improved overall survival for three reasons. “It allowed higher performance status at relapse, leading to more optimal therapy for relapsing patients. Dangerous medical conditions were detected earlier and treated earlier. It favored earlier supportive care, which improved quality of life. Less imaging was needed and performed at the right time,” Dr. Denis said.

Patients were monitored on a weekly basis, allowing more personalized care. The Moovcare web-app has been evaluated prospectively in about 300 patients, providing a high level of evidence of its utility in improving outcomes for patients with advanced lung cancer.

Press conference moderator Dr. Patricia Ganz commented that Moovcare is an example of a new way to improve the delivery of high-quality care to patients. “If we had a drug or some new intervention that caused this level of survival benefit, wouldn’t we want to go out and use it?” she asked. “This is a tremendous advance. This is personalized medicine. This is really tailoring it to the patient, and you can see how simple it is to collect this kind of data from the patient and then bring them in in between what would have been a scheduled visit.” She said the app overcomes the barrier of patients putting off reporting symptoms until their next visit or their reluctance to “bother the doctor.”

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