A study published by Michael S. Leapman, MD, and colleagues in JAMA Oncology found substantial regional variation in the use of genomic testing for prostate cancer, raising questions about access and other factors that might promote rapid adoption of new cancer technologies.
Michael S. Leapman, MD
“Little was known about how genomic testing was used in routine clinical care,” said Dr. Leapman, Assistant Professor of Urology, Clinical Program Leader of the Prostate and Urologic Cancers Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center, in a statement. “We aimed to understand national patterns of uptake within regions in the United States. One of the interesting findings we uncovered was the extent of regional variation in the use of genomic testing.”
The study examined data from 92,418 patients age 40 to 89 diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2012 and 2018 using insurance claims from Blue Cross Blue Shield Axis, the largest resource for health-care claims, provider and cost data. The researchers looked to identify trends in the use of testing and employed a form of statistical modeling to uncover groups of regions that shared similar patterns of uptake.
Findings showed the adoption of commercial tissue-based genomic testing for prostate cancer was highly variable at the regional level in the United States and may be associated with contextual measures related to socioeconomic status and patterns of prostate cancer care.
Compared with regions that more slowly adopted testing, hospital referral regions with the highest rate of adoption had:
“Some regions had minimal or no use of genomic testing, while others had high levels of use, implying that decisions to test are highly discretionary,” said Dr. Leapman. “In addition, there were groups of geographically unrelated regions that shared a similar pace of growth over time. These findings raise questions about shared factors that might promote rapid uptake of new cancer technologies.”
Study scientists added further research is needed to clarify the contribution of patient level factors to testing, as well as the effectiveness of these tests in improving clinical decision-making.
Disclosure: The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health/the National Cancer Institute. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit jamanetwork.com.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®.