Vallely, Jaxon J.;Hudson, Kathryn E.;Locke, Susan C.;Wolf, Steven P.;Samsa, Gregory P.;Abernethy, Amy P.;LeBlanc, Thomas W.;
Purpose Pruritus is a common symptom in cutaneous malignancies, but its impact on patients with solid tumors is unclear. We explored the impact and management of pruritus in patients with solid tumors, using patient-reported outcomes (PRO) data from a real-world registry. Methods From 2006 to 2011, patients seen in the Duke Cancer Institute reported their symptoms via the Patient Care Monitor v2.0, a validated PRO tool that includes a 0-10-point question about pruritus severity. From > 25,000 encounters, 203 patients reported severe pruritus (> 6/10) on at least one visit and 506 total visits were abstracted where patients reported either moderate or severe pruritus (> 3/10). From this cohort, we abstracted demographics, diagnosis, stage, cancer therapy, anti-pruritic therapy, and clinicians' responses. Results Mean age was 59.8 (SD 13.3), 134 (66%) were female, 125 (62%) were Caucasian, and 65 (32%) were African American. Breast cancer was the most common tumor (36.5%), followed by lung cancer (23.2%). Mean pruritus severity score was 6.8 (SD 1.8) for patients on chemotherapy, 6.9 (SD 1.8) for patients on targeted therapy alone or in combination, and 7.1(SD 1.8) for patients off treatment. Overall, 67% of patients reported at least two episodes of moderate-severe pruritus (mean # of visits 4.2 (SD 2.7)). Despite frequent report of severe and persistent pruritus, this was mentioned in just 28% of clinician notes and an intervention was recommended/prescribed in only 7% of visits. Conclusions Pruritus is an under-addressed symptom in patients with solid tumors. Additional research is needed to understand the burden of pruritus in affected populations.