Patient-Reported Symptom Burden and Daily Impairment in cGVHD

By Patrick Daly - Last Updated: November 23, 2022

According to a study in Cancer Medicine, there is a lack of patient-reported evidence on the symptom burden and impact on daily activities of chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT).

Researchers conducted a survey and reported that respondents identified high cGVHD symptom burden and felt their symptoms significantly interfered with physical functioning and activities of daily living (ADL).

The study included 165 patients across 33 US states who had a diagnosis of cGVHD after HCT who completed the online Living With Chronic GVHD Patient Survey between May and August 2020. Researchers used the Lee Symptom Scale (range, 0-100) to assess symptom burden.

Patients With cGVHD Describe Severe Burden and Functional Impairment

Participants in the final cohort had a mean age of 53.7 ± 13.8 (median, 57 years [range, 18-78]), were 63.6% female (n=105), and 85% White (n=137). In responding to the survey, 32.7% (n=54) and 61.8% (n=102) of participants described their worst chronic GVHD symptoms as moderate and severe, respectively.

In addition, 33.9% of respondents noted their chronic GVHD symptoms were at their worst for more than 1 year, and 44% stated dry eye was the most burdensome symptom. Participants’ mean Lee Symptom Scale score was 44.8 ± 19.4 (range, 2-100). Of note, 44.2% (n=73) of patients rated their overall quality of life as poor, and many reported negative effects on their basic ADL.

“Respondents reported that their symptoms severely interfered with their physical function and ability to perform both basic and instrumental activities of daily living,” the authors summarized.

“These findings further highlight the need for effective therapies that alleviate symptoms of chronic GVHD and improve patients’ physical and social function among long-term HSCT survivors.”

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