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Women's Hormonal Therapy Initiation and Persistence (WHIP Study)

Vanessa Sheppard, MD, Georgetown University
Study abstract

To date, no study has systematically examined psychosocial, healthcare, and biological factors that predict adherence to hormonal therapy in Black women with breast cancer. To begin to fill this knowledge gap,the research team will conduct a prospective cohort study of 422 ER positive breast cancer patients recruited from health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Their primary outcome is adherence to therapy at 36 months post initiation. Specific aims are to: 1) Examine psychosocial factors (e.g. health beliefs, socio-cultural values, etc.) that predict adherence to hormonal therapy; 2) Identify clinical (e.g., side effects), and biological (e.g., stage, etc.) factors that predict adherence to hormonal therapy; and 3) Evaluate healthcare variables (e.g., communication, management of side effects, etc.) that predict adherence. They will also explore the role of CYP2D6 genetic variations in adherence to hormonal therapy which is novel and will increase knowledge about this genetic factor in Blacks.

Study review

This study at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, is investigating how women taking hormonal therapies for breast cancer treatment feel about their medications. The researchers wanted to enroll up to 300 volunteers from anywhere in the US and reached out to the Army of Women (AOW) to help them complete recruitment. The Call to Action for this study was sent to AOW members on Aug. 20, 2014. The response from the AOW was overwhelming and the researchers increased their enrollment goal due to the positive response. They closed enrollment on Oct. 28, 2014, after the AOW provided them with 1,149 women who were interested in enrolling in the study.