IASLC 2017: Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer Survival Rates Higher Among Patients Treated at Academic Centers

Key Points

  • 4-year overall survival for academic and nonacademic cohorts was 25% and 19%, respectively.
  • The survival difference between academic and community centers was greater among nonmetastatic compared to metastatic NSCLC. This difference remained significant even after adjusting for age, race, income, education, geographic location, insurance status, TNM stage, and treatment modalities.
  • Researchers also determined median overall survival for patients diagnosed from 2010 to 2013 (14.8 months) was significantly higher than in patients diagnosed from 2004 to 2009 (12.4 months), which points to major treatment advances for NSCLC.

As non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) survival rates have increased over time, new research sheds light on how NSCLC outcomes are significantly influenced by the type of treatment facility where patients undergo care. Bhagirathbhai Dholaria, MD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center, presented these findings at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 18th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Yokohama, Japan.

With the treatment of NSCLC rapidly advancing, Dr. Dholaria and his team decided to explore the role of novel therapeutic treatment and initial treatment at academic centers—which provide greater access to advanced technologies and clinical trials—in NSCLC outcome trends. Based on data of NSCLC incident cases between 2004 and 2013 from the National Cancer Database, the researchers plotted overall survival by year of diagnosis and type of treatment facility. The study included more than 1 million patients with NSCLC, separated by initial treatment facility type (academic: 31.5%, nonacademic: 68.5%).

Key Findings

The researchers found that that NSCLC treatment at academic centers was associated with reduced risk of death when compared to nonacademic centers. Four-year overall survival for academic and nonacademic cohorts was 25% and 19%, respectively (P < .001). The survival difference between academic and community centers was greater among nonmetastatic compared to metastatic NSCLC. This difference remained significant even after adjusting for age, race, income, education, geographic location, insurance status, TNM stage, and treatment modalities. These findings highlight the importance of ensuring easier access to facilities with multidisciplinary expertise and training programs. This approach has the potential to increase survival of NSCLC patients.

Additionally, the researchers determined that the median overall survival for patients diagnosed from 2010 to 2013 (14.8 months) was significantly higher than in patients diagnosed from 2004 to 2009 (12.4 months), which points to major treatment advances for NSCLC (P < .001).

“Community centers, which remain an important resource for cancer care, should be provided with resources to improve quality of care and access to clinical trials,” said Dr. Dholaria. “Additionally, collaboration between academic and community centers should be encouraged to improve access to specialty care for socioeconomically disadvantaged patients in rural areas. We hope our results will inform policymakers in designing and changing the health-care infrastructure to improve patient access to quality NSCLC care.”

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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