Introduction: Adjuvant chemotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has become a new standard of care. This study examines the uptake patterns for adjuvant chemotherapy outside of clinical trials.
Methods: A retrospective study of all patients diagnosed with NSCLC in the year 2005 who underwent curative-intent surgery in Nova Scotia, Canada was conducted. Logistic regression models and discriminant function analyses were employed to identify cofactors associated with referral to medical oncology and/or utilization of adjuvant chemotherapy.
Results: Of 540 patients with NSCLC, 108 underwent curative-intent surgery (67% lobectomy; 15% pneumonectomy; 19% wedge resection) for NSCLC (39% IA; 24% IB; 25% II; 14% III). Referral to medical oncology was observed in 44% (47 of 108) of all patients including 73% (30 of 41) of those with stage II-III. Adjuvant chemotherapy utilization was observed in 62% (29 of 47) of those referred including 73% (22 of 30) of those with stage II-III. Overall, 27% (29 of 108) of all patients received adjuvant chemotherapy, including 54% (22 of 41) of those with stage II-III. Higher uptake was significantly associated with age (younger versus older), stage (II/III versus I), and surgery type (pneumonectomy versus wedge). Weaker associations were observed with other cofactors including surgeon, health center, mean household income, and surgery-medical oncologist consult timeline.
Conclusions: The uptake of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with resected NSCLC outside of clinical trials is low overall, but is higher among younger patients and those with more advanced stages. These uptake patterns may allow future planning of health resource utilization and/or improvement of chemotherapy utilization rates.