Measuring medication adherence in pediatric cancer: An approach to validation

Jennifer M. Rohan, Tsuyoshi Fukuda, Melissa A. Alderfer, Crista Wetherington Donewar, Linda Ewing, Ernest R. Katz, Anna C. Muriel, Alexander A. Vinks, Dennis Drotar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective This study described the prospective relationship between pharmacological and behavioral measures of 6-mercaptopurine (6MP)medication adherence in amultisite cohort of pediatric patients diagnosed with cancer (N=139). Methods Pharmacological measures (i.e., metabolite concentrations) assessed 6MP intake. Behavioral measures (e.g., electronic monitoring) described adherence patterns over time. Results Three metabolite profiles were identified across 15 months: one group demonstrated low levels of both metabolites (40.8%) consistent with nonadherence and/or suboptimal therapy; two other groups demonstrated metabolite clusters indicative of adequate adherence (59.2%). Those patients whose metabolite profile demonstrated low levels of both metabolites had consistently lower behavioral adherence rates. Conclusions To our knowledge, thiswas the first study to prospectively validate a pharmacological measure of medication adherence with a behavioral adherence measure in a relatively large sample of pediatric patients with cancer. Using multiple methods of adherencemeasurement could informclinical care and target patients in need of intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-244
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


  • Adherence
  • Cancer
  • Metabolites
  • Metabolites
  • Pediatrics
  • Pharmacology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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