Web-based mindfulness and skills-based distress reduction for patients with cancer: study protocol of the multicentre, randomised, controlled confirmatory intervention trial Reduct

BMJ Open. 2022 Jun 1;12(6):e056973. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-056973.


Introduction: Many patients with cancer experience severe psychological distress, but as a result of various barriers, few of them receive psycho-oncological support. E-mental health interventions try to overcome some of these barriers and the limitation of healthcare offers, enabling patients with cancer to better cope with psychological distress. In the proposed trial, we aim to assess the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the manualised e-mental health intervention Make It Training- Mindfulness-Based and Skills-Based Distress Reduction in Oncology. Make It Training is a self-guided and web-based psycho-oncological intervention, which includes elements of cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction and acceptance and commitment therapy. The training supports the patients over a period of 4 months. We expect the Make It Training to be superior to treatment as usual optimised (TAU-O) in terms of reducing distress after completing the intervention (T1, primary endpoint).

Methods and analysis: The study comprises a multicentre, prospective, randomised controlled confirmatory interventional trial with two parallel arms. The proposed trial incorporates four distinct measurement time points: the baseline assessment before randomisation, a post-treatment assessment and 3 and 6 month follow-up assessments. We will include patients who have received a cancer diagnosis in the past 12 months, are in a curative treatment setting, are 18-65 years old, have given informed consent and experience high perceived psychological distress (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale ≥13) for at least 1 week. Patients will be randomised into two groups (Make It vs TAU-O). The aim is to allocate 600 patients with cancer and include 556 into the intention to treat analysis. The primary endpoint, distress, will be analysed using a baseline-adjusted ANCOVA for distress measurement once the intervention (T1) has been completed, with study arm as a binary factor, baseline as continuous measurement and study centre as an additional categorical covariate.

Ethics and dissemination: The Ethics Committee of the Medical Faculty Essen has approved the study (21-10076-BO). Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, the project website, and among self-help organisations.

Trial registration number: German Clinical Trial Register (DRKS); DRKS-ID: DRKS00025213.

Keywords: mental health; oncology; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Internet-Based Intervention*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness* / methods
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Young Adult