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3053 Background: Use of immunotherapies in the treatment of cancer is growing and a range of new immunotherapeutic strategies are being evaluated. It is important that healthcare providers (HCP) understand these treatments and how they compare with and may complement established therapies. As part of the activities of the POINT expert group, we commissioned a survey of current awareness, attitudes and perceptions of cancer immunotherapy in Europe. Methods: From August-September 2011, 426 healthcare professionals (HCPs: oncologists, surgeons and oncology nurses) from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK (~85 respondents/country) completed online interviews. Representatives of patient advocacy groups (PAGs) in each country were surveyed by telephone interview. Results: Nearly all (98%) HCPs were aware of cancer immunotherapy. While 68% of HCPs indicated a high level of interest, knowledge levels were lower. Only 24% of the HCPs had direct experience with cancer immunotherapies, while others reported they knew a lot (12%), a reasonable amount (28%) or little (34%) about immunotherapy strategies but had not used them (76%). Overall perceptions of cancer immunotherapy among HCPs were largely positive (60%) and rarely negative (3%). The key advantages of cancer immunotherapy were perceived to be good safety and tolerability (75%), a targeted mechanism of action (61%) and good efficacy (48%). The leading barriers to use of immunotherapies were costs of treatment (58%), past clinical trial failures (45%) and access/formulary restrictions (44%). Most (75%) HCPs had already discussed cancer immunotherapy with their patients and 70% of patients were reported as being receptive to the concept. The majority of PAGs indicated they were currently unable to advise patients about cancer immunotherapy due to a lack of or confusing information and poor understanding. Conclusions: Awareness of cancer immunotherapy in Europe is high and it is generally perceived as a positive addition to established treatment options. However, the understanding varies and the direct experience is limited. There is a clear need for further educational activities concerning cancer immunotherapy, as well as further clinical data on long-term efficacy and safety.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Clinical Oncology


American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

Publication Date





3053 - 3053