Objectives: Clinical practice guidelines represent a key tool to improve quality and reduce variability of cancer care. In 2004, Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM) launched the RIGHT (research for the identification of the most effective and highly accepted clinical guidelines for cancer treatment) program. The third step, RIGHT-3, evaluated the concordance between AIOM lung cancer guidelines and Italian clinical practice.
Materials and methods: RIGHT-3 was a retrospective observational study, conducted in 53 Italian centers treating lung cancer. Sampling from AIOM database of 230 centers was stratified by presence of thoracic surgery and geographic distribution. To describe the adherence to AIOM guidelines (2009 edition), 11 indicators regarding diagnostic and treatment procedures were identified. Patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) diagnosis who had first visit in 2010 were divided into 3 groups, based on TNM stage: I-II-IIIA (5 indicators), IIIB (3 indicators) and IV (3 indicators).
Results: 708 patients were enrolled; 680 were eligible: 225 patients in stage I-II-IIIA; 156 patients in stage IIIB; 299 patients in stage IV. Cyto-histological diagnosis was available in 96%, 97%, 96% of stage I-II-IIIA, IIIB, IV respectively. Positron-emission tomography was performed in 64% of stage I-II-IIIA and 46% of stage IIIB. 88% of stage I-II patients eligible for surgery underwent lobectomy; after surgery, 61% of stage II and 57% of stage IIIA patients received adjuvant chemotherapy. Among stage IIIB patients who received combined chemo- radiotherapy, sequential approach was more common than concomitant treatment (86% vs. 14%). Among stage IV patients, 87% received platinum-based first-line treatment, and 70% received second-line.
Conclusion: The RIGHT-3 study showed that, in 2010, adherence to Italian NSCLC guidelines was high for many indicators (including those related to treatment of stage IV patients), but lower for some diagnostic procedures. Guidelines adherence monitoring can be useful to reduce variability in cancer care.
Keywords: Diagnosis; Guidelines; Lung cancer; Treatment.
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