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Pamala A. Pawloski, Cara L. McDermott, James H. Marshall, Vanita Pindolia, Catherine M. Lockhart, Catherine A. Panozzo, Jeffrey S. Brown, and Bernadette Eichelberger

Background: Chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia (FN) is prevented or minimized with granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (G-CSFs). Several G-CSF biosimilars are approved in the United States. The Biologics and Biosimilars Collective Intelligence Consortium (BBCIC) is a nonprofit initiative whose objective is to provide scientific evidence on real-world use and comparative safety and effectiveness of biologics and biosimilars using the BBCIC distributed research network (DRN). Patients and Methods: We describe real-world G-CSF use in patients with breast or lung cancer receiving first-cycle chemotherapy associated with high FN risk. We assessed hospitalizations for FN, availability of absolute neutrophil counts, and G-CSF–induced adverse events to inform future observational comparative effectiveness studies of G-CSF reference products and their biosimilars. A descriptive analysis of 5 participating national health insurance plans was conducted within the BBCIC DRN. Results: A total of 57,725 patients who received at least one G-CSF dose were included. Most (92.5%) patients received pegfilgrastim. FN hospitalization rates were evaluated by narrow (<0.5%), intermediate (1.91%), and broad (2.99%) definitions. Anaphylaxis and hyperleukocytosis were identified in 1.15% and 2.28% of patients, respectively. This analysis provides real-world evidence extracted from a large, readily available database of diverse patients, characterizing G-CSF reference product use to inform the feasibility of future observational comparative safety and effectiveness analyses of G-CSF biosimilars. We showed that the rates of FN and adverse events in our research network are consistent with those reported by previous small studies. Conclusions: Readily available BBCIC DRN data can be used to assess G-CSF use with the incidence of FN hospitalizations. Insufficient laboratory result data were available to report absolute neutrophil counts; however, other safety data are available for assessment that provide valuable baseline data regarding the effectiveness and safety of G-CSFs in preparation for comparative effectiveness studies of reference G-CSFs and their biosimilars.

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Lindsay J. Collin, Ming Yan, Renjian Jiang, Keerthi Gogineni, Preeti Subhedar, Kevin C. Ward, Jeffrey M. Switchenko, Joseph Lipscomb, Jasmine Miller-Kleinhenz, Mylin A. Torres, Jolinta Lin, and Lauren E. McCullough

Background: Racial disparities in breast cancer mortality in the United States are well documented. Non-Hispanic Black (NHB) women are more likely to die of their disease than their non-Hispanic White (NHW) counterparts. The disparity is most pronounced among women diagnosed with prognostically favorable tumors, which may result in part from variations in their receipt of guideline care. In this study, we sought to estimate the effect of guideline-concordant care (GCC) on prognosis, and to evaluate whether receipt of GCC modified racial disparities in breast cancer mortality. Patients and Methods: Using the Georgia Cancer Registry, we identified 2,784 NHB and 4,262 NHW women diagnosed with a stage I–III first primary breast cancer in the metropolitan Atlanta area, Georgia, between 2010 and 2014. Women were included if they received surgery and information on their breast tumor characteristics was available; all others were excluded. Receipt of recommended therapies (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, endocrine therapy, and anti-HER2 therapy) as indicated was considered GCC. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate the impact of receiving GCC on breast cancer mortality overall and by race, with multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (HRs). Results: We found that NHB and NHW women were almost equally likely to receive GCC (65% vs 63%, respectively). Failure to receive GCC was associated with an increase in the hazard of breast cancer mortality (HR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.37–2.20). However, racial disparities in breast cancer mortality persisted despite whether GCC was received (HRGCC: 2.17 [95% CI, 1.61–2.92]; HRnon-GCC: 1.81 [95% CI, 1.28–2.91] ). Conclusions: Although receipt of GCC is important for breast cancer outcomes, racial disparities in breast cancer mortality did not diminish with receipt of GCC; differences in mortality between Black and White patients persisted across the strata of GCC.

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Martin J. Edelman, Daniel P. Raymond, Dwight H. Owen, Michelle B. Leavy, Kari Chansky, Sriram Yennu, Felix G. Fernandez, Carolyn J. Presley, Tithi Biswas, Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Matthew B. Schabath, Seth Sheffler-Collins, Laura Chu, and Richard E. Gliklich

Background: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and globally, and many questions exist about treatment options. Harmonizing data across registries and other data collection efforts would yield a robust data infrastructure to help address many research questions. The purpose of this project was to develop a minimum set of patient and clinician relevant harmonized outcome measures that can be collected in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patient registries and clinical practice. Methods: Seventeen lung cancer registries and related efforts were identified and invited to submit outcome measures. Representatives from medical specialty societies, government agencies, health systems, health information technology groups, patient advocacy organizations, and industry formed a stakeholder panel to categorize the measures and harmonize definitions using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s supported Outcome Measures Framework (OMF). Results: The panel reviewed 66 outcome measures and identified a minimum set of 8 broadly relevant measures in the OMF categories of patient survival, clinical response, events of interest, and resource utilization. The panel harmonized definitions for the 8 measures through in-person and virtual meetings. The panel did not reach consensus on 1 specific validated instrument for capturing patient-reported outcomes. The minimum set of harmonized outcome measures is broadly relevant to clinicians and patients and feasible to capture across NSCLC disease stages and treatment pathways. A pilot test of these measures would be useful to document the burden and value of the measures for research and in clinical practice. Conclusions: By collecting the harmonized measures consistently, registries and other data collection systems could contribute to the development research infrastructure and learning health systems to support new research and improve patient outcomes.

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Jennifer Barsky Reese, Lauren A. Zimmaro, Sharon L. Bober, Kristen Sorice, Elizabeth Handorf, Elaine Wittenberg, Areej El-Jawahri, Mary Catherine Beach, Antonio C. Wolff, Mary B. Daly, Brynna Izquierdo, and Stephen J. Lepore

Background: Most breast cancer clinicians lack training to counsel patients about sexual concerns. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of a mobile learning (mLearning) intervention (improving Sexual Health and Augmenting Relationships through Education [iSHARE]) aimed at enhancing breast cancer clinicians’ knowledge of, beliefs about, and comfort with discussing patients’ sexual health concerns. Methods: Clinicians listened to a 2-part educational podcast series offering information on breast cancer–related sexual health concerns and effective communication on the topic, which consisted of interviews with expert guests. Intervention feasibility was assessed through rates of enrollment, retention, and intervention completion, with benchmarks of 40%, 70%, and 60%, respectively. Acceptability was assessed through program evaluations, with 75% of clinicians rating the intervention favorably (eg, relevance, satisfaction) signifying acceptability. Clinicians self-reported their knowledge about breast cancer–related sexual health concerns, beliefs (ie, self-efficacy for discussing sexual health concerns), and comfort with discussing sexual concerns measured at preintervention and postintervention. Qualitative analysis examined clinicians’ perceptions of lessons learned from the intervention. Results: A total of 32 breast cancer clinicians enrolled (46% of those invited; 97% of those who responded and screened eligible), 30 (94%) completed both the intervention and study surveys, and 80% rated the intervention favorably, demonstrating feasibility and acceptability. Results showed positive trends for improvement in clinician knowledge, beliefs, and comfort with discussing sexual health concerns. Clinicians reported key lessons learned, including taking a proactive approach to discussing sexual health concerns, normalizing the topic, addressing vaginal health, sending the message that help is available, and assessing sexual health concerns with patients from different backgrounds. Conclusions: Breast cancer clinicians were amenable to participating in the iSHARE intervention and found it useful. iSHARE showed promise for improving clinician’s knowledge and comfort discussing patients’ sexual health concerns. A larger trial is required to demonstrate efficacy. Future studies should also examine whether iSHARE can improve patient–clinician communication and address patients’ sexual concerns.

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Craig S. Schneider, Robert A. Oster, Aparna Hegde, Michael C. Dobelbower, John M. Stahl, and Adam J. Kole

Background: Optimal treatment of nonoperative patients with large, node-negative non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is poorly defined. Current NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) recommend definitive radiotherapy (RT) with or without sequential chemotherapy and do not include concurrent chemoradiotherapy (chemoRT) as a treatment option. In this study, we identified factors that predict nonadherence to NCCN Guidelines. Patients and Methods: Patients who received definitive RT for nonmetastatic, node-negative NSCLC with tumor size of 5 to 7 cm were identified in the National Cancer Database from 2004 through 2016. Patients were evaluated by RT type (stereotactic body RT [SBRT], hypofractionated RT [HFRT], or conventionally fractionated RT [CFRT]) and chemotherapy use (none, sequential, or concurrent with RT). Patients were classified as receiving NCCN-adherent (RT with or without sequential chemotherapy) or NCCN-nonadherent (concurrent chemoRT) treatment. Demographic and clinical factors were assessed with logistic regression modeling. Overall survival was evaluated with Kaplan-Meier, log-rank, and univariable/multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analyses. Results: Among 2,020 patients in our cohort, 32% received NCCN-nonadherent concurrent chemoRT, whereas others received NCCN-adherent RT alone (51%) or sequential RT and chemotherapy (17%). CFRT was most widely used (64% CFRT vs 22% SBRT vs 14% HFRT). Multivariable analysis revealed multiple factors to be associated with NCCN-nonadherent chemoRT: age ≤70 versus >70 years (odds ratio [OR] , 2.72; P<.001), treatment at a nonacademic facility (OR, 1.65; P<.001), and tumor size 6 to 7 cm versus 5 to 6 cm (OR, 1.27; P=.026). Survival was similar between the NCCN-nonadherent chemoRT and NCCN-adherent groups (hazard ratio, 1.00; P=.992) in multivariable analysis. Conclusions: A substantial proportion of inoperable patients with large, node-negative NSCLC are not treated according to NCCN Guidelines and receive concurrent chemoRT. Younger patients with larger tumors receiving treatment at nonacademic medical centers were more likely to receive NCCN-nonadherent therapy, but adherence to NCCN Guidelines was not associated with differences in overall survival.

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Sheshadri Madhusudhana, Michelle Gates, Daulath Singh, Punita Grover, Mahathi Indaram, and An-Lin Cheng

Background: Psychological distress is common in patients with cancer. Distress can affect patients’ engagement with treatment. We examined the relationship between psychological distress and treatment timeliness in a sample of adult oncology patients at a safety-net hospital. Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of all patients screened for distress at a first outpatient oncology visit between March 1, 2014, and December 31, 2015 (n=500). The analytic sample (n=96) included patients with a new cancer diagnosis and a curative-intent treatment plan for lymphoma (stage I–IV), solid tumor malignancy (stage I–III), or head and neck cancer (stage I–IVb). Distress was measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Using Poisson regression, we determined the effects of depression and anxiety on treatment timeliness. Patient age, sex, race/ethnicity, insurance type, cancer site, and cancer stage were included as covariates. Results: Mean patient age was 54 years. The median treatment initiation interval was 28 days. Clinically significant anxiety was present in 34% of the sample, and clinically significant depression in 15%. Greater symptom severity in both anxiety and depression were associated with a longer treatment initiation interval after controlling for demographics and disease factors. The average days to treatment (DTT) was 4 days longer for patients with elevated anxiety scores and for those with elevated depression scores compared with those without. Overall survival was not associated with anxiety, depression, or DTT. Conclusions: In this safety-net patient sample, greater psychological distress was associated with slower time to treatment. As of writing, this is a new finding in the literature, and as such, replication studies utilizing diverse samples and distress measurement tools are needed.

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Katy E. Balazy, Cecil M. Benitez, Paulina M. Gutkin, Clare E. Jacobson, Rie von Eyben, and Kathleen C. Horst

Background: Breast cancer care requires coordination between multiple diagnostic and treatment modalities. Disparities such as age, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status are associated with delays in care. This study investigates whether primary language is associated with delays in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment before and through radiotherapy (RT). Patients and Methods: This study was an institutional retrospective matched-cohort analysis of women treated with breast RT over 2 years. A total of 65 non–English-speaking (NES) patients were matched with 195 English-speaking (ES) patients according to stage, age, and chemotherapy delivery. Key time intervals along the breast cancer care path from initial findings through RT were recorded. Data were analyzed in a mixed model with matching as the random effect. The impact of race and insurance status was analyzed in addition to language. Results: Significant delays were found for NES patients, which varied by race. NES Latina patients experienced the longest delay, with a mean total care-path time of 13.53 months (from initial findings to end of RT) versus 8.18 months for all ES patients (P<.0001). Specifically, their mean total care-path time was 5.97 months longer than that of ES Latina patients (P=.001) and 5.80 months longer than that of ES White patients (P<.0001). In addition, NES Latina patients had a significantly longer total care-path time than NES patients of other races/ethnicities (P=.001). Delays were specifically seen between initial clinical or radiographic findings and diagnostic mammogram (P=.001) and between biopsy and resection (P=.044). Beyond language, race/ethnicity was itself associated with delays between resection and start of RT (P=.032) and between start and end of RT (P=.022). Conclusions: Language is associated with pre-RT delays in breast cancer care, especially for NES Latina patients. Delays are most pronounced before diagnostic mammograms, but they also exist before resection and RT. Future work should target NES patients to assist their progress along the care path.

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Owen Tan, Deborah J. Schofield, and Rupendra Shrestha

Background: This study used a linked dataset consisting of all childhood cancers recorded over the course of 10 years in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, to evaluate the hospital and emergency department costs (from a payer perspective) and resources used by patients with childhood cancer. We also analyzed determinants responsible for high-frequency hospital admissions, hospital length of stay (LoS), and hospital costs. Methods: We analyzed linked data at the individual patient level for a retrospective cohort of 2,966 patients with cancer aged <18 years with a diagnosis date between 2001 and 2012 from the NSW Central Cancer Registry, Australia. We reported costs and use of hospitalization and emergency department presentation 1 year before the date of diagnosis, 1 year after diagnosis, and 2 to 5 years after diagnosis. We also examined the association between cancer types and hospital admission and hospital costs from the payer perspective. Patient characteristics associated with the frequency of hospital admissions, hospital LoS, and hospital costs were also determined using a generalized linear model. Results: Most hospital admission costs occurred in the first year after diagnosis, accounting for >70% of hospital costs within 5 years after diagnosis. The estimated median annual cost of hospitalization in the first year after diagnosis was A$88,964 (interquartile range [IQR], A$34,399–A$163,968) for patients diagnosed at age 0 to 14 years and A$23,384 (IQR, A$5,585–A$91,565) for those diagnosed at age 15 to 17 years. Higher frequency of hospital admissions, hospital LoS, and hospital costs were significantly associated with younger age at cancer diagnosis, cancer metastases, and living in remote/disadvantaged socioeconomic areas. Conclusions: Our study represents one of the first in Australia to include detailed hospitalization cost information for all childhood cancer cases. This study highlights the high hospital use by pediatric patients and the importance of early diagnosis. Our findings also demonstrate the health inequities experienced by patients from remote areas and the lowest socioeconomic areas.

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Chetna Malhotra, Ling En Koh, Irene Teo, Semra Ozdemir, Isha Chaudhry, Eric Finkelstein, and on behalf of the COMPASS Study Team

Background: Advance care planning (ACP) involves documentation of patients’ preferred place of death (PoD). This assumes that patients’ preferred PoD will not change over time; yet, evidence for this is inconclusive. We aimed to assess the extent and correlates of change in patients’ preferred PoD over time. Materials and Methods: Using data from a cohort study of patients with advanced cancer in Singapore, we analyzed preferred PoD (home vs institution including hospital, hospice, and nursing home vs unclear) among 466 patients every 6 months for a period of 2 years. At each time point, we assessed the proportion of patients who changed their preferred PoD from the previous time point. Using a multinomial logistic regression model, we assessed patient factors (demographics, understanding of disease stage, ACP, recent hospitalization, quality of life, symptom burden, psychologic distress, financial difficulty, prognosis) associated with change in their preferred PoD. Results: More than 25% of patients changed their preferred PoD every 6 months, with no clear trend in change toward home or institution. Patients psychologically distressed at the time of the survey had increased likelihood of changing their preferred PoD to home (relative risk ratio [RRR], 1.02; 95% CI, 1.00–1.05) and to an institution (RRR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02–1.10) relative to no change in preference. Patients hospitalized in the past 6 months were more likely to change their preferred PoD to home (RRR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.07–2.29) and less likely to change to an institution (RRR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.28–0.88) relative to no change in preference. Conclusions: The present study provides evidence of instability in the preferred PoD of patients with advanced cancer. ACP documents need to be updated regularly to ensure they accurately reflect patients’ current preference.

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Jake S. Jacob, Barbara E. Dutra, Victor Garcia-Rodriguez, Kavea Panneerselvam, Fiyinfoluwa O. Abraham, Fangwen Zou, Weijie Ma, Petros Grivas, John A. Thompson, Mehmet Altan, Isabella C. Glitza Oliva, Hao Chi Zhang, Anusha S. Thomas, and Yinghong Wang

Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy predisposes patients to immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Data are limited regarding the incidence, management, and outcomes of one such irAE: mucositis. In this study, we evaluated the clinical characteristics, disease course, treatment, and outcomes of ICI-mediated mucositis. Methods: This was a retrospective, single-center study of patients who received ICI therapy and developed oral mucositis at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center from January 2009 to September 2019. Inclusion criteria included age ≥18 years, a diagnosis of oral mucositis and/or stomatitis based on ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes, and therapy using CTLA-4 or PD-1/L1 inhibitors alone or combined with other agents. Results: We identified 152 patients with a mean age of 60 years, 51% of whom were men. Of the sample patients, 73% had stage IV cancer, with melanoma the most common (28%). Median time from ICI initiation to mucositis was 91 days. The most common clinical presentation of mucositis was odynophagia and/or oral pain (89%), 91% developed CTCAE grade 1–2 mucositis, and 78% received anti–PD-1/L1 monotherapy. Compared with anti–PD-1/L1–based therapy, anti–CTLA-4–based therapy was more frequently associated with earlier onset of mucositis (73 vs 96 days; P=.077) and a lower rate of symptom resolution (76% vs 92%; P=.029); 24% of patients required immunosuppressive therapy, which was associated with longer symptom duration (84 vs 34 days; P=.002) and higher mucositis recurrence rate (61% vs 32%; P=.006). ICI interruption was associated with worse survival (P=.037). Mucositis recurrence, immunosuppressant use, and presence of other irAEs did not affect survival. Conclusions: For ICI-mediated mucositis, a diagnosis of exclusion has not been well recognized and is understudied. Although the clinical symptoms of mucositis are mostly mild, approximately 25% of patients require immunosuppression. Mucositis recurrence can occur in approximately 39% patients. Our results showed that ICI interruption compromises overall survival.