Horizon scanning implanted biosensors in personalising breast cancer management: First pilot study of breast cancer patients views

Theresa Ikegwuonu*, Gill Haddow, Joyce Tait, Alan F. Murray, Ian H. Kunkler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Aims: This study aimed to explore breast cancer patients' understanding and acceptability of implanted biosensors (BS) within the primary tumour to personalise adjuvant radiotherapy, and to determine optimal design and number of BS, and evaluate potential clinical benefits as well as concerns about tolerance, toxicity, dwell time, and confidentiality of data.

Patients and methods: A total of 32 patients treated by surgery (29 breast conserving, 3mastectomy), postoperative radiotherapy and systemic therapy for early breast cancer, were recruited from a post treatment radiotherapy clinic at a cancer centre. Patients participated in semistructured interviews. Interview transcripts were analysed using qualitative methods.

Results: Participants were aged 39 to 87 years, with a median age of 62 years. Most(N = 23[72%]) were unfamiliar with biosensors. The majority (N = 29[90.6%]) were supportive of the technology's potential use in future breast cancer treatment and were willing to accept biosensors (N = 28[88%]) if they were endorsed by their breast cancer consultant. Only 3 patients expressed concerns, predominantly about uncertainties on their role in the diagnostic and treatment pathway. Patients were flexible about the size and shape of BS, but had a preference for small size (N = 28 [87.5%]). Most (N = 22[69%]) would accept implantation of more than 5 BS and were flexible (N = 22[69%]) about indefinite dwell time. Patients had a strong preference for wireless powering of the BS (N = 28[87.5%]). Few had concerns about loss of confidentiality of data collected. All patients considered biosensors to be potentially of important clinical benefit.

Conclusions: While knowledge of biosensors was limited, patients were generally supportive of biosensors implanted within the primary tumour to collect data that might personalise and improve breast cancer radiotherapy in future.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere30
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Science Reports
Issue number4
Early online date15 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • cancer
  • oncology
  • adjuvant radiography
  • breast cancer
  • biosensor
  • implantable technology
  • patient acceptability


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