This is a qualitative study designed to examine patient acceptability of re-sampling surgery for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) electively post-therapy or at asymptomatic relapse.
Thirty patients were selected using the convenience sampling method and interviewed. Patients were presented with hypothetical scenarios including a scenario in which the surgery was offered to them routinely and a scenario in which the surgery was in a clinical trial.
The results of the study suggest that about two thirds of the patients offered the surgery on a routine basis would be interested, and half of the patients would agree to the surgery as part of a clinical trial. Several overarching themes emerged, some of which include: patients expressed ethical concerns about offering financial incentives or compensation to the patients or surgeons involved in the study; patients were concerned about appropriate communication and full disclosure about the procedures involved, the legalities of tumor ownership and the use of the tumor post-surgery; patients may feel alone or vulnerable when they are approached about the surgery; patients and their families expressed immense trust in their surgeon and indicated that this trust is a major determinant of their agreeing to surgery.
The overall positive response to re-sampling surgery suggests that this procedure, if designed with all the ethical concerns attended to, would be welcomed by most patients. This approach of asking patients beforehand if a treatment innovation is acceptable would appear to be more practical and ethically desirable than previous practice.