Tumor testing and treatment patterns in veterans with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer

Semin Oncol. 2023 Feb-Apr;50(1-2):11-24. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2023.03.001. Epub 2023 Mar 15.


Introduction: In 2016, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) began a partnership to improve access to testing. The primary objective of this analysis was to describe the use of tumor testing and treatment patterns in Veterans who progressed to metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) from 2016 to 2021. Secondary objectives including identifying factors associated with receipt of tumor testing, and reporting HRR mutation results among a subset who were tested.

Methods and materials: Natural language processing algorithms were applied to VA electronic health record data to identify a nationwide cohort of veterans with mCRPC. Tumor testing over time and by region were reported, alongside first-, second-, and third-line treatment patterns. Factors associated with receipt of tumor testing were identified using generalized linear mixed models with binomial distributions and logit links to account for clustering by VA facility.

Results: Of the 9,852 veterans analyzed, 1,972 (20%) received tumor testing, with 73% of testing occurring in 2020-2021. Factors associated with tumor testing included younger age, later diagnosis year, being treated in the Midwest, or Puerto Rico or other compared to the South, and being treated at a PCF-VA Center of Excellence. Fifteen percent of tests were positive for a pathogenic HRR mutation. Seventy-six percent of the study cohort received first-line treatment, and among those, a subsequent 52% received second-line treatment. A subsequent 46% received third-line treatment.

Conclusion: After the VA-PCF partnership, one-fifth of veterans with mCRPC received tumor testing, with most tests occurring in 2020-2021.

Keywords: HRR mutation; Homologous recombination repair; Natural language processing; mCRPC.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant* / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant* / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant* / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Veterans*