Background: Numerous oral anticancer chemotherapies are available. Non-adherence or over-adherence to these chemotherapies can lead to lowered efficacy and increased risk of adverse events. The objective of this study was to identify patients' adherence profiles using a qualitative-quantitative method.
Methods: A capecitabine treatment was initiated for 38 patients with advanced breast or colorectal cancer. At inclusion, information on patients' beliefs was reported using a questionnaire. Later, Information on patients' relation to treatment was obtained from a sub-group during an interview with a sociologist. Questionnaires were analyzed using Multiple Classification Analysis to cluster patients. Treatment adherence was evaluated by an electronic medication event monitoring systems (MEMS caps) and then correlated with patient clusters. Interviews were analyzed to complete and explain results.
Results: 38 patients were enrolled between 2008 and 2011 and completed the questionnaire. Twenty had adherence measured with MEMS caps all along treatment. Between 4 and 6 months after inclusion, 16 patients were interviewed. Patient profile B (retired, with a regular life, surrounded by a relative's attention to drug adherence, with a low educational level) was statistically associated with adequate adherence (p = 0.049). A tendency for lower adherence was observed among more highly educated patients with an irregular, active life (NS). All patients taking capecitabine demonstrated a risk of over-adherence, potentiating side effects.
Conclusions: These encouraging primary results suggest that further studies should be undertaken and that educational programs tailored to patient profiles should be evaluated to enhance adherence for those who need it and to empower all patients to manage treatment side effects.