A SMART Design to Optimize the Delivery of TEMPO for Men With Prostate Cancer and Their Caregivers


St. Mary's Research Center, Canada


Begins enrollment in 3 months


Cancer of the Prostate


Other: Active Monitoring dyads' anxiety
Behavioral: TEMPO

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


Men with prostate cancer and their family caregivers face many physical and emotional challenges from the cancer itself and its treatment(s), which often lead to high anxiety. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of protecting our physical and mental health, and the complex responsibilities that caregivers have in supporting their loved ones. To improve the health of men with prostate cancer and of their caregivers, the research team developed TEMPO: a self-directed Tailored, wEb-based, psychosocial and physical activity self-Management PrOgram. TEMPO was developed with men with prostate cancer and their caregivers over the past 8 years. It also combines the investigators' research conducted over the past decade on providing the best support to those affected by cancer. Because the cancer care workforce is already overstretched, the research team designed TEMPO to be used without guidance from a health care professional. TEMPO is one-of-a kind in its support of both patients and caregivers, and the integration of coping skills training on a wide range of cancer challenges along with a home-based exercise program. Patients and caregivers who have used TEMPO said they improved their communication, learned new skills to cope with both physical and emotional challenges of cancer, and increased their physical activity. The present project builds on this work to further evaluate the cost and impact of TEMPO on men's and caregivers' health. Men with prostate cancer and their caregivers will be assigned by chance to one of two groups a) TEMPO or b) monitor their anxiety for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, patients' and caregivers' needing more support will be identified based on an assessment of their anxiety level. For those already using TEMPO and needing more support, non-health care professional guidance might be offered. All those in the monitoring group needing more support will now have access to TEMPO. All participants complete surveys to determine whether TEMPO led to improved health outcomes.

Full description

BACKGROUND : Up to 60% of men with prostate cancer report some level of anxiety, with clinical levels exceeding population norm. Anxiety results from reactions to the diagnosis, treatment side effects, and the multitude of other anxiety-provoking physical and psychosocial challenges (e.g., treatment decision-making) men face daily. These challenges can be successfully mitigated through self-management, defined as one's actions and decisions to confidently manage medical aspects of cancer, cope with emotions, adjust everyday life, and enhance recovery (e.g., via lifestyle changes). Cancer care lags in the implementation of self-management support, mostly because it requires clinicians' engagement, which conflicts with their limited availability, even if self-management is cost-effective. Men then often lack knowledge for effective self-management; cancer challenges often persist, along with the anxiety they provoke. Cancer challenges are not self-managed in a vacuum; family caregivers are often relied on. The impact of caregiving is substantial, but often dismissed, resulting in high caregiver anxiety. TEMPO, a self-directed, dyadic Tailored, wEb-based psychosocial and physical activity self-Management PrOgram, was developed because staff shortages necessitate innovative models to deliver sustainable self-management support, without compromising efficacy. TEMPO is a tool to help address the quadruple aim of healthcare: enhance dyads' and clinicians' experiences and improve health outcomes at low cost. However, in a pilot study, some dyads needed more guidance to use TEMPO. Barriers to use were mostly motivational, which the investigators previously found can be effectively addressed by guidance from non-health care professionals to spare clinical resources. OBJECTIVES : The goal of this study is to determine the most efficacious and cost-effective way of adapting TEMPO to dyads' needs for guidance. The primary hypotheses are that a) TEMPO dyads will experience lower anxiety than active monitoring dyads, but dyads needing guidance will report lower anxiety post guided TEMPO than if they had continued with TEMPO self-directed; and b) TEMPO will be cost-effective compared to active monitoring; adding guidance will demonstrate cost-effectiveness among those needing it. For the secondary hypotheses, same effects are expected of TEMPO and guidance on the secondary outcomes and between-group differences in anxiety will be higher among caregivers who are mostly females and women. METHODOLOGY : This study is a Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial (SMART) with two sequential intervention stages, cost-effectiveness analysis, and exit qualitative interviews. Using a stepped care approach, TEMPO will be provided across two intervention stages with variations on timing (initial vs. delayed) and intensity (self-directed vs. guided). Dyads will initially be randomized to a) TEMPO self-directed or b) active monitoring of anxiety. After 12 weeks, TEMPO dyads still reporting anxiety will be re-randomized to more time with TEMPO or TEMPO plus guidance, and active monitoring dyads will be offered TEMPO. All participating dyads will continue to access usual care (a co-intervention measure is included). Group allocation will not be blinded. Dyads will be blinded to hypotheses to reduce bias. Research assistants (RAs) will not interact with randomized participants until the exit interview. Guides are not therapists; they focus on adherence, using TEMPO to answer dyads' questions. Phone calls start with the guide and dyad setting an agenda. Guides then ask about TEMPO's use since the last call. Guides conclude calls by reviewing dyad's goals until the next call. Stages 1 and 2 are 12 weeks each. Outcomes are assessed prior to randomization (baseline, T0) and at completion of Stage 1 (11 weeks post-randomization, T1) and Stage 2 (22 weeks post-randomization, T2). Patient inclusion criteria are: Received treatment for prostate cancer (excluding active surveillance) within the past two years Identified a primary caregiver willing to participate in the study One member of the dyad has anxiety symptoms Has access to the internet, Understands English or French. Eligible caregivers will be those identified by the patient as his primary source of support. Caregivers also need to be able to read English or French. Dyads exclusion criteria are: Either member of the dyad is hospitalized at recruitment SIGNIFICANCE :This proposal builds on the investigators' innovative work on efficient, evidence-based dyadic self-management interventions that spare clinical resources but remains efficacious. Clinician partners emphasize the value of TEMPO in their letters of support. Twice as many centres are participating in this trial, compared to the pilot. The research team will make cost-effectiveness recommendations with clinical implementation in mind. Importantly, TEMPO has significant generalizability, as the tools and approaches can readily be adapted to other cancer populations (see letter from Stuart Edmond, Canadian Cancer Society). TEMPO is currently being adapted for use among patients with a head and neck cancer and their caregivers for implementation at the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal. Several Cancer Agencies are exploring TEMPO's integration in their resource infrastructure. However, a definitive trial on efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and adaptation to meet dyad's needs for guidance is needed. The research team will also contribute to the emerging literature on SMARTs for behavioral interventions.


376 estimated patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • treatment for prostate cancer (excluding active surveillance) received within the past 2 years
  • participate with a self-identified caregiver
  • one member of the dyad has anxiety symptoms
  • Patients and caregivers need to be able to read English or French
  • internet access

Exclusion criteria

- either member of the dyad is hospitalized at recruitment

Trial design

Primary purpose

Supportive Care



Interventional model

Sequential Assignment


Double Blind

376 participants in 2 patient groups

Experimental group
Using a stepped care approach, TEMPO will be provided across two intervention stages with variations on timing (initial vs. delayed) and intensity (self-directed vs. guided). All dyads will continue to access usual care (a co-intervention measure is included).
Behavioral: TEMPO
Actively Monitoring dyads' anxiety
Active Comparator group
Patients will receive usual care throughout the study. Dyads in this group will not receive any information resources from the research team but will have access to all of those available at their participating center (sites will be asked to provide a description of usual care practices). Dyads not responding to active monitoring will be stepped up to TEMPO; responders to active monitoring will only be invited to complete the follow-up measures.
Other: Active Monitoring dyads' anxiety

Trial contacts and locations



Central trial contact

Sylvie Lambert, PhD; Margit Fuchs, PhD

Data sourced from clinicaltrials.gov

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