Background: Detailed information about how patients with head and neck carcinoma (HNC) are treated across practice settings does not exist. The authors conducted a prospective, observational study to examine the patterns of care for a series of patients with newly diagnosed HNC in the United States and to test 2 hypotheses: 1) There is no difference in the pattern of care between community and academic settings; and 2) the results of major randomized clinical trials will change the pattern of care in both practice settings within 1 year of publication in peer-reviewed journals.
Methods: Patients aged ≥ 18 years were enrolled in the Longitudinal Oncology Registry of Head and Neck Carcinoma (LORHAN) after providing written informed consent if they had a confirmed diagnosis of new HNC and were scheduled to receive treatment other than surgery alone.
Results: Between 2005 and 2010, 100 centers enrolled 4243 patients, including 2612 patients (62%) from academic investigators and 1631 patients (38%) from community centers. Initial treatments were radiation with concurrent chemotherapy (30%) or cetuximab (9%), adjuvant radiotherapy (21%), induction chemotherapy (16%), and other (24%). Intensity modulated radiation therapy was the dominant radiation technique (84%). Single-agent cisplatin was prescribed in nearly half of patients and more often in academic centers (53% vs 43% of patients; P < .0001). Single-agent cetuximab was the next most common drug used (19%) and was prescribed more frequently in community settings (24% vs 17%; P = .0001). The data rejected the 2 prospective hypotheses.
Conclusions: LORHAN documented differences in patient characteristics and treatments between community and academic settings for a large series of patients in the United States.
Copyright © 2012 American Cancer Society.