Department of General… Research Research areas


EHealth intervention to manage symptoms for cancer patients on immunotherapy - a randomized controlled feasibility trial


The adaption to a cancer diagnosis and its treatment is associated with high levels of psychological burden. Immunotherapy is a new promising treatment option in several tumour diseases. However, it can be accompanied by side effects, which can limit patients’ health-related quality (HRQoL) of life and represent a psychological burden.

Previous research on cancer patients treated with chemotherapy show that the regular measurement and feedback of symptoms improve patients’ (HRQoL) and overall survival. Consequently, we have developed a therapy-accompanying eHealth intervention–Managing symptoms of immunotherapy (SOFIA) –for cancer patients on immunotherapy in an interdisciplinary setting including medical oncologists and psycho-oncologists. SOFIA is a smartphone application (app) that is technically realised in cooperation with Fosanis GmbH (Berlin, Germany). SOFIA consists of two components:

SOFIA-monitoring, is a tool for patients to rate their physical and psychological symptoms during immunotherapy twice a week for three months. Data is transmitted to oncologist before the next scheduled visit. Psycho-oncological services will be offered if required.

SOFIA-coaching provides important information about cancer- and immunotherapy-specific topics (e.g. physical exercise, nutrition, coping with psychological distress) and provides contact information of the counselling services of the National Center of Tumour Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg.

SOFIA primarily aims at improving patients’ quality of life, and at improving self-efficacy, psychological distress and physician-patient interaction. It is evaluated in an ongoing randomized controlled feasibility trial at NCT Heidelberg.

Project management

Working group: PD Dr. Imad Maatouk, Senta Kiermeier

Cooperation partner: Fosanis GmbH Berlin

Duration: 07/2020 – 07/2022

Funded by: NCT Elevator Pitch