Adherence to pharmacological therapy is a complex and multifactorial issue that can substantially alter the outcome of treatment. Especially when using long-term medication, cancer patients have adherence rates similar to those of patients with other diseases. The consequences of poor adherence are poor health outcomes and increased health care costs. Only few studies have focused on the use of oral anticancer agents in daily practice. Information about the reasons for nonadherence is essential for the development of interventions that may improve adherence. This report presents the CAPER-capecitabine protocol, which is designed to study the adherence to capecitabine and the influence of patient attitudes towards medication and self-reported side effects. Furthermore, the relationships between patient characteristics, disease characteristics, side effects, quality of life, patient beliefs and attitudes towards disease and medication, dose adjustments, reasons for discontinuation, and plasma concentration of three of the main metabolites, including the active compound 5-fluorouracil, will be explored.
In this multicenter, prospective, observational cohort study, 90 patients aged 18 years or older starting treatment with capecitabine will be included and followed for a period up to five cycles. The main study parameters are adherence, patient attitudes towards medication, and the number and grade of patient-reported side effects. At baseline and during week 2 of cycles 1, 3 and 5, patients will be asked to donate blood and fill out a questionnaire. Blood samples will be analyzed for plasma concentration of the metabolites, 5′-deoxy-5-fluorouridine, 5-fluorouracil, and α-fluoro-β-alanine. The CAPER-capecitabine trial is closely related to the CAPER-erlotinib trial.
The aim of the present study is to get more insight into patient experiences with the use of capecitabine in daily practice and the various aspects that govern adherence. We hypothesize that patient attitudes towards medication and the side effects experienced play an important role in the way patients use capecitabine. We expect that our findings will be useful for health care professionals in developing interventions to support patients in improving adherence and persistence with the use of capecitabine.