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Peer support in patients with hematologic malignancies: a systematic review

Abstract

Background

Peer support has been utilized and associated with clinical outcomes (e.g., improved mood) in patients with solid malignancies. However, to date, there is minimal literature examining peer support among patients with hematologic malignancies and/or patients who have undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).

Methods

In accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines, we completed a systematic review using five databases to assess the relationship between peer support and clinical outcomes (e.g., distress, physical symptoms) among patients with hematologic malignancies or HSCT recipients.

Results

The eight included studies examined peer support in a total of 574 patients. Four intervention studies highlighted the potential benefits of peer support, such as improved physical symptoms. Two studies, one interventional and one cross-sectional, highlighted the need for more empirically based peer support interventions in the HSCT population.

Conclusion

Among patients with hematologic malignancies and/or HSCT recipients, there is a dearth of literature examining the association between peer support and outcomes, although few studies have described a positive association between peer support and better health outcomes. More randomized controlled studies are needed to better understand the role of peer support and peer support interventions on outcomes in these vulnerable populations.

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Fig. 1: PRISMA flow diagram.

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Acknowledgements

Time for this work was supported by the National Cancer Institute through grant K08CA251654 (to HLA) and by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute through grant R01HL113272 (to JCH). AEl-J is a scholar in clinical research for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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All authors made substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data. All were involved in drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content. All provided final approval of the manuscript and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

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Correspondence to Hermioni L. Amonoo.

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Amonoo, H.L., Harnedy, L.E., Staton, S.C. et al. Peer support in patients with hematologic malignancies: a systematic review. Bone Marrow Transplant 57, 1240–1249 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41409-022-01709-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41409-022-01709-3

Keywords

  • Hematologic Malignancies
  • Blood Cancers
  • Peer Support
  • Social Wellbeing
  • Social Support
  • Patient-Reported Outcomes
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation

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