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Optimizing Proficiency for Treating Advanced Soft Tissue Sarcoma

An educational enduring online activity provided by i3 Health has demonstrated knowledge gains regarding the best treatment and management of advanced soft tissue sarcoma.

Soft tissue sarcomas are a heterogeneous group of malignancies that arise primarily from the mesodermal tissues of the extremities, trunk and retroperitoneum, and head and neck. The American Cancer Society estimated that 13,190 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2022, and 5,130 of these cases are estimated to be fatal. The three most common types of soft tissue sarcomas are undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma, which was previously known as malignant fibrous histiocytoma, liposarcoma, and leiomyosarcoma. Despite this, there are many unspecified types of sarcomas that are very common as well. Nearly 50% of patients will experience locoregional recurrence, distant metastases, or both. The outlook for those with unresectable and metastatic disease is poor, with a median overall survival of one year.

To address the knowledge gaps experienced by medical professionals encompassing optimized treatment strategies for advanced soft tissue sarcoma, i3 Health provided a continuing medical education (CME) and nursing continuing professional development (NCPD)–approved activity, Optimizing Personalized Care Plans for Patients With Advanced Soft Tissue Sarcoma. Those who led this activity included Vicki Keedy, MD, MSCI, Associate Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; Brian Rubin, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Pathology at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Kathleen Polson, a Nurse Practitioner at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The activity was supported by independent educational grants from Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Epizyme, and Eisai, and was available on i3 Health's website from October 30, 2020, until October 29, 2021.

The total number of participants who attended this activity was 174, with 160 completing the activity for credit. Most learners were registered nurses, followed by physicians, advanced practice nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, physician assistants, and those who chose "other" as their profession. Attendees had been in practice for an average of 15 years and saw an average of five patients with soft tissue sarcoma per month.

The baseline data collected revealed knowledge gaps in the following areas: distinguishing patient and tumor characteristics that can inform personalized therapeutic approaches in soft tissue sarcoma; evaluating the clinical relevance of emerging data in the management of advanced soft tissue sarcoma; and assessing strategies to manage adverse events and optimize treatment outcomes of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma. Participants were given a matched-pairs pretest and posttest to evaluate knowledge gains throughout the activity.

Prior to the start of the activity, the pretest assessment revealed that 75% of learners understood that ripretinib would be preferable to avapritinib for a patient with KIT exon 11–mutated metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST); only 18% understood that a patient with newly diagnosed metastatic PDGFRA exon 18–mutated GIST who is starting treatment with avapritinib should be counseled about the potential for memory and mental status changes; 19% understood that tazemetostat would be the appropriate treatment for a patient with newly diagnosed metastatic INI1-negative epithelioid sarcoma; 18% understood that trabectedin would result in the longest progression-free survival for a patient with metastatic leiomyosarcoma that is refractory to doxorubicin/ifosfamide; and 26% understood that eribulin would not be more effective for a patient with previously treated myxoid/round cell liposarcoma than it would be for a patient with previously treated pleomorphic liposarcoma.

Significant learning took place as revealed by the posttest assessment, as 24% more participants correctly identified the efficacy of ripretinib for refractory GIST; 76% more understood the adverse events of avapritinib; 79% more understood the efficacy of tazemetostat for epithelioid sarcoma; 70% more understood the efficacy of trabectedin for metastatic leiomyosarcoma; and 62% more understood treatment selection for previously treated myxoid/round cell liposarcoma.

Upon completion of the activity, 86% of participants stated they felt more confident in treating their patients with soft tissue sarcoma, and 86% felt that the material presented would be used to improve the outcomes of their patients.

The data revealed by the posttest assessment affirm the effectiveness of the online educational content and show significant gains in knowledge and proficiency regarding optimized treatment strategies for soft tissue sarcoma. i3 Health has determined that the multidisciplinary team may benefit from CME/NCPD activities that provide soft tissue sarcoma education on novel therapeutic agents, treatment selection, and adverse event management.

For More Information

i3 Health (2022). Optimizing personalized care plans for patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma: activity outcomes report. Data on file.

American Cancer Society (2022). Key statistics for soft tissue sarcomas. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/soft-tissue-sarcoma/about/key-statistics.html


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