Lung Cancer App (LuCApp): a mobile supportive care app for patients with metastatic lung cancer

LuCApp is a mobile app developed to promote real-time monitoring and management of patients’ symptoms to ultimately improve the quality of life and the delivery of care for patients with lung cancer.

Principal investigator: Rosanna Tarricone (CeRGAS) 

Team UB/Cergas: Oriana Ciani, Maria Cucciniello, Francesco Petracca, Benedetta Pongiglione (CeRGAS) 

Partners: Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria San Luigi Gonzaga di Orbassano (TO), Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano (MI), Policlinico San Matteo Fondazione IRCCS di Pavia (PV), Azienda Ospedaliera San Camillo Forlanini (RM) 

Sponsor: Helsinn 

Duration: 2016-2023 

Background: The substantial progress made in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer entails it can be managed as other chronic diseases, where long-term active monitoring is needed. To this end, self-management interventions such as mobile health apps can help patients and their families care for themselves along the cancer care continuum. These benefits may extend up to lung cancer, the most common oncological malignancy and cause of cancer deaths worldwide, whose pharmacological treatments are associated with significant impacts on quality of life and severity of side effects. 

To test whether a mobile supportive app can lead to increased quality of life scores by enhancing self-monitoring of therapy-induced side effects compared with the current standard of care, LuCApp was co-designed with patients and oncologists and pilot-tested before being tested in a 24-week two-arm multicentric parallel RCT. The primary outcome of the study was the change in the score of the Trial Outcome Index in the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (Lung) questionnaire from baseline to 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes included other quality of life measures, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Supportive Care Needs Survey Short Form, the app usability questionnaire and the Zarit Burden Interview for the main caregiver. Between July 2018 and February 2022, 100 adult patients (48 in LuCApp group and 52 in the control group) were enrolled in the 4 participating centres, after which the trial was terminated. 

The trial was informed by a previous study aimed at describing the patient and clinician population that used mHealth in cancer care and at providing recommendations to app developers and regulators to generally increase the use and efficacy of mHealth apps. An international e-survey was distributed across the United States and 5 different countries in Europe, showing low level of use of mobile technologies in cancer care, a higher probability of use for clinicians compared to patients, and a prominent gap between basic and advanced users. 

Material produced and publications:  

Ciani O, Cucciniello M, Petracca F, et al. Lung Cancer App (LuCApp) study protocol: a randomised controlled trial to evaluate a mobile supportive care app for patients with metastatic lung cancer. BMJ Open. 2019;9(2):e025483. Published 2019 Feb 15. discover more

Tarricone R, Cucciniello M, Armeni P, et al. Mobile Health Divide Between Clinicians and Patients in Cancer Care: Results From a Cross-Sectional International Survey. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2019;7(9):e13584. Published 2019 Sep 6. discover more


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