A recent study revealed potential areas of opportunity for increased awareness of biomarker testing and targeted therapy for ovarian cancer among oncology nurses. Results of the study were reported in the journal Oncology Nursing Forum.1
“The current study shows that as therapies for ovarian cancer quicky evolve, knowledge and expertise have not kept pace,” the study investigators wrote in their report.
The study was a cross-sectional survey of oncology nurses that was conducted online during June 2022. The survey was aimed at ascertaining the nurses’ level of understanding of testing and treatments for ovarian cancer and opportunities for improvement.
Among 100 oncology nurses who responded to the survey, the median number of patients with ovarian cancer treated per year was 38 (range, 10 to 200). Participants included 70 registered nurses and 30 advanced practice nurses, with 32 respondents employed as nurse practitioners, 31 as staff nurses, and the remaining participants filling a variety of other positions.
Oncology nurses in this study generally recognized the importance of biomarker testing and targeted therapy in diagnosing and treating ovarian cancer. Regarding diagnostic approaches, 82% were aware of the role of imaging modalities, and 68% were aware of blood tests including cancer antigen-125 testing.
However, only 45% were aware of genetic approaches such as molecular testing and next-generation sequencing. Additionally, only 18% were aware of tumor testing approaches such as homologous recombination deficiency testing and tumor marker analysis.
When unaided, almost all (95%) respondents expressed awareness of chemotherapy as a treatment approach for ovarian cancer, and 69% reported awareness of surgery as a treatment option. However, only 34% expressed an awareness of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors.
Among 98 nurses indicating familiarity with targeted therapy, most reported being very/extremely familiar with angiogenesis inhibitors, approximately half reported they were very/extremely familiar with PARP inhibitors, and the fewest reported being very/extremely familiar with tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
Most did not indicate being very/extremely knowledgeable with various aspects of PARP inhibitors.
Based on the study’s results, the investigators concluded that the nurses understood the importance of biomarker testing and targeted therapy in ovarian cancer, but their familiarity, knowledge, and comfort with certain aspects of these were limited.
The investigators indicated that providing nurses with education and resources regarding biomarker testing and targeted therapy, especially on PARP inhibitors, could be beneficial.
“Being armed with a deeper understanding of precision medicine can empower nurses in supporting their patients as they are diagnosed with and treated for ovarian cancer,” the investigators wrote in their report.
Disclosures: Some authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.
Weimer J, Bozorghadad H, Schoonover K, Carll C, Repco K. Familiarity and perceptions of ovarian cancer biomarker testing and targeted therapy: a survey of oncology nurses in the United States. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2023;50(4):437-448. doi:10.1188/23.ONF.437-448