Results of VOICE: a global survey of disease-specific knowledge and perspectives of real-world patients with CLL

Elsevier, Blood Advances, Volume 7, 2023
Tam C., Pinilla-Ibarz J., Castillo C.G., Fenili A.C., Huntley K., Karakus V. et al.
The Virtual Opinions poll Independent Centered on CLL patients’ Experience (VOICE) evaluated patients’ knowledge about chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), their perspectives on diagnosis and treatment, and their unmet needs. Clinicians and patient advocacy group representatives developed and distributed the survey from March through December 2022 in 12 countries, and 377 patients with ≥1 line of previous CLL treatment responded from Europe, Latin America, the United States, Australia, Egypt, and Turkey. A majority of them (90%; 336/374) relied on their physicians for information regarding CLL and treatment. If at high risk, respondents prefer oral medications to intravenous (78%; 232/296), fixed duration treatment over treatment until progression (69%; 185/270), outpatient over inpatient treatments (91%; 257/283). Over three-fourths of respondents (78%; 286/368) wanted to be involved in treatment decisions, but a minority actually participated (44%; 138/313). COVID-19 vaccinations were widely available (97%; 273/281), but one-fifth (19%; 63/331) were unaware that CLL increases vulnerability to infections. Most patients’ physicians explained their treatment options (84%; 297/355), and 90% (271/301) understood their treatment. Notably, >10% would continue treatment normally if they experienced cardiac problems or arrhythmias, whereas 23% would consider stopping treatment if they developed skin cancer. Treatment–associated side effects affected 27% to 43% of patients. These results in a global patient population highlight gaps in patients’ knowledge of risk groups, their susceptibility to infections including COVID, and the side effects of common treatments. Such knowledge can guide the appropriate targeting of patient education initiatives by clinicians, advocates, and policymakers.