A mobile app designed to help patients with multiple myeloma (MM) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) manage their symptoms was found to be helpful in several important areas, with most participants in the feasibility pilot assessment reporting satisfaction with the app. Results of the study were published in JMIR Cancer.

In spite of these promising results, use of the app was not associated with a significant reduction in symptoms or improved global mental and physical health across 2 months. Notably, recruitment and retention were difficult (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT05928156).

Since patients with hematologic malignancies typically experience serious mental and physical symptoms across the cancer care continuum, this study built on prior work to develop an app to support patients with MM and CLL. This controlled trial randomly assigned patients to use The Blood Cancer Coach app (intervention arm), developed with feedback from clinicians and patients to support self-management of symptoms, or to an attention control arm (Springboard Beyond Cancer website).

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The app was fully automated and included tracking of symptoms and distress with individualized feedback, reminders for medication with adherence tracking, MM and CLL education resources, and mindfulness activities.

Global health, posttraumatic stress, and cancer symptoms were outcomes of interest. Within the intervention arm, satisfaction surveys and usage data supported the assessment of acceptability.

Of the 180 patients who downloaded the app, 49% consented to participate and 40% (72 patients) completed baseline surveys. Of the patients who completed baseline surveys, 53% completed surveys at week 4 (16 in the intervention arm and 22 in the control arm). Surveys at 8 weeks were completed by 39% (13 patients in the intervention arm and 15 in the control arm).

The majority of participants (87%) found the Blood Cancer Coach app at least moderately efficacious at supporting management of symptoms. Similarly, 87% of participants reported the app made them feel more comfortable seeking help, 73% reported increased awareness of resources, and 73% reported overall satisfaction with the app.

Across the 8-week study period, patients completed a mean of 248.5 app tasks, with the most used functions being medication log, guided meditations, distress tracking, and symptom tracking.

Despite these results, no significant differences between the control and intervention arms occurred at weeks 4 or 8 on any outcomes, and no significant improvement over time occurred within the intervention group.

The authors noted limitations, including the patient population was composed of mostly white and college-educated patients. “Future studies would do well to include self-efficacy outcomes, target those with more symptoms, and emphasize diversity in recruitment and retention,” the authors concluded.

Disclosure: One study author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


LeBlanc MR, LeBlanc TW, Yang Q, McLaughlin J, Irish K, Smith SK. A mobile app to support self-management in patients with multiple myeloma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia: pilot randomized controlled trial. JMIR Cancer. 2023;9:e44533. doi:10.2196/44533

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor