Use and Outcomes of SBRT for Early Stage NSCLC Without Pathologic Confirmation in the Veterans Health Care Administration.
PURPOSE: Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) use has increased among patients without pathologic confirmation (PC) of lung cancer. Empirical SBRT without PC raises concerns about variation in workup and patient selection, but national trends have not been well described. In this study, we assessed patterns of empirical SBRT use, workup, and causes of death among a large national non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cohort. METHODS AND MATERIALS: We identified 2221 patients treated with SBRT for cT1-T2aN0M0 NSCLC in the Veterans Affairs health care system from 2008 to 2015. We reviewed their pretreatment workup and assessed associations between absence of PC and clinical and demographic factors. We compared causes of death between PC and non-PC groups and used Cox proportional hazards modeling to compare overall survival and lung cancer specific survival (LCSS) between these groups. RESULTS: Treatment without PC varied from 0% to 61% among Veterans Affairs medical centers, with at least 5 cases of stage I NSCLC. Overall, 14.9% of patients were treated without PC and 8.8% did not have a biopsy attempt. Ten percent of facilities were responsible for almost two-thirds (62%) of cases of treatment without PC. Of non-PC patients, 95.5% had positron emission tomography scans, 40.6% had biopsy procedures attempted, and 12.7% underwent endobronchial ultrasound. Non-PC patients were more likely to have cT1 tumors and live outside the histoplasmosis belt. Age, sex, smoking status, and Charlson comorbidity index were similar between groups. Lung cancer was the most common cause of death in both groups. Overall survival was similar between groups, whereas non-PC patients had better LCSS (hazard ratio = 0.77, P = .031). CONCLUSIONS: Empirical SBRT use varied widely among institutions and appropriate radiographic workup was consistently used in this national cohort. Future studies should investigate determinants of variation and reasons for higher LCSS among non-PC patients.
Wilkie, JR; Lipson, R; Johnson, MC; Williams, C; Moghanaki, D; Elliott, D; Owen, D; Atluri, N; Jolly, S; Chapman, CH
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