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Evaluation of Managing Cancer and Living Meaningfully (CALM) in people with advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated with immunotherapies or targeted therapies: protocol for a single-arm, mixed-methods pilot study.

Lynch FA, Rodin G, Jefford M, Duffy M, Lai-Kwon J, Heynemann S, Mileshkin L, Briggs L, Burke J, Leigh L, Spelman T, Ftanou M

  • Journal BMJ open

  • Published 31 Jul 2023

  • Volume 13

  • ISSUE 7

  • Pagination e072322

  • DOI 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-072322


People with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with immunotherapies (IT) or targeted therapies (TT) may have improved outcomes in a subset of people who respond, raising unique psychological concerns requiring specific attention. These include the need for people with prolonged survival to reframe their life plans and tolerate uncertainty related to treatment duration and prognosis. A brief intervention for people with advanced cancer, Managing Cancer and Living Meaningfully (CALM), could help people treated with IT or TT address these concerns. However, CALM has not been specifically evaluated in this population. This study aims to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of CALM in people with advanced NSCLC treated with IT or TT and obtain preliminary evidence regarding its effectiveness in this population.

Twenty people with advanced NSCLC treated with IT or TT will be recruited from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia. Participants will complete three to six sessions of CALM delivered over 3-6 months. A prospective, single-arm, mixed-methods pilot study will be conducted. Participants will complete outcome measures at baseline, post-intervention, 3 months and 6 months, including Patient Health Questionnaire, Death and Dying Distress Scale, Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy General and Clinician Evaluation Questionnaire. The acceptability of CALM will be assessed using patient experiences surveys and qualitative interviews. Feasibility will be assessed by analysis of recruitment rates, treatment adherence and intervention delivery time.

Ethics approval has been granted by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC/82047/PMCC). Participants with cancer will complete a signed consent form prior to participation, and carers and therapists will complete verbal consent. Results will be made available to funders, broader clinicians and researchers through conference presentations and publications. If CALM is found to be acceptable in this cohort, this will inform a potential phase 3 trial.