Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer. 2018 Jun 1;124(11):2438-2446. doi: 10.1002/cncr.31333. Epub 2018 Mar 14.

Pilot study of a multimodal intervention to enhance sexual function in survivors of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Author information

Department of Hematology Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Medical Oncology, Lifespan Cancer Institute, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island.
Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.
Department of Clinical Psychology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC.
Department of Epidemiology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Dartmouth College, Lebanon, New Hampshire.



Although sexual dysfunction is common after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT), interventions to address sexual function are lacking.


We conducted a pilot study to assess the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a multimodal intervention to address sexual dysfunction in allogeneic HCT survivors. Transplant clinicians screened HCT survivors ≥3 months post-HCT for sexual dysfunction causing distress. Those who screened positive attended monthly visits with a trained transplant clinician who: 1) performed an assessment of the causes of sexual dysfunction; 2) educated and empowered the patient to address his or her sexual concerns; and 3) implemented therapeutic interventions targeting the patient's needs. Feasibility was defined as having approximately 75% of patients who screened positive agreeing to participate and 80% attending at least 2 intervention visits. We administered the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) sexual function and satisfaction measure, the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Bone Marrow Transplant (FACT-BMT), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to evaluate sexual function, quality of life (QOL), and mood, respectively, at baseline and 6 months postintervention.


Approximately 33.1% of patients (50 of 151 patients) screened positive for sexual dysfunction causing distress and 94.0% (47 of 50 patients) agreed to participate, with 100% attending 2 intervention visits. Participants reported improvements in satisfaction (P<.0001) and interest in sex (P<.0001), as well as orgasm (P<.0001), erectile function (P<.0001), vaginal lubrication (P = .0001), and vaginal discomfort (P = .0005). At baseline, approximately 32.6% of participants were not sexually active, compared with 6.5% after the intervention (P = .0005). Participants reported improvement in their QOL (P<.0001), depression (P = .0002), and anxiety (P = .0019).


A multimodal intervention to address sexual dysfunction integrated within the transplant clinic is feasible with encouraging preliminary efficacy for improving sexual function, QOL, and mood in HCT survivors. Cancer 2018;124:2438-46. © 2018 American Cancer Society.


hematologic malignancies; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT); sexual dysfunction; supportive care; survivorship care; transplantation survivors

[Available on 2019-06-01]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center