(HealthDay News) – Half of patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) receive ≥one course of palliative radiation therapy (RT), with younger patients and those who received chemotherapy or surgery more likely to receive palliative RT, according to a study published online Jan. 7 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Aileen B. Chen, MD, MPP, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues investigated population-based patterns in the use of palliative RT among a cohort of 1,574 patients with metastatic NSCLC, diagnosed from 2003–2005, using data from the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance Consortium study.
The researchers found that 50% of the patients received ≥one course of RT, 21% received RT to the chest, and 12% to the bone. Younger age at diagnosis and receipt of chemotherapy and surgery to metastatic sites were factors associated with the use of palliative RT. 6% of patients receiving palliative bone RT received single-fraction treatment, while 42% of those receiving palliative chest RT received >20 fractions. Lower doses and fewer fractions to the bone and chest were more likely among patients treated in integrated networks.
“When palliative RT is used in patients with metastatic NSCLC, a substantial proportion of patients receive a greater number of treatments and higher doses than supported by current evidence, suggesting an opportunity to improve care delivery,” Chen and colleagues conclude.
One author disclosed financial ties to WellPoint.