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Anuhya Kommalapati, Sri Harsha Tella, Adams Kusi Appiah, Lynette Smith and Apar Kishor Ganti

Background: There is significant heterogeneity in the treatment of stage IIIA non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study evaluated the therapeutic and survival disparities in patients with stage IIIA NSCLC based on the facility volume using the National Cancer Database. Methods: Patients with stage IIIA NSCLC diagnosed from 2004 through 2015 were included. Facilities were classified by tertiles based on mean patients treated per year, with low-volume facilities treating ≤8 patients, intermediate-volume treating 9 to 14 patients, and high-volume treating ≥15 patients. Cox multivariate analysis was used to determine the volume–outcome relationship. Results: Analysis included 83,673 patients treated at 1,319 facilities. Compared with patients treated at low-volume facilities, those treated at high-volume centers were more likely to be treated with surgical (25% vs 18%) and trimodality (12% vs 9%) therapies. In multivariate analysis, facility volume was independently associated with all-cause mortality (P<.0001). Median overall survival by facility volume was 15, 16, and 19 months for low-, intermediate-, and high-volume facilities, respectively (P<.001). Compared with patients treated at high-volume facilities, those treated at intermediate- and low-volume facilities had a significantly higher risk of death (hazard ratio, 1.09 [95% CI, 1.07–1.11] and 1.11 [95% CI, 1.09–1.13], respectively). Conclusions: Patients treated for stage IIIA NSCLC at high-volume facilities were more likely to receive surgical and trimodality therapies and had a significant improvement in survival.

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Michael J. Baine, Richard Sleightholm, Beth K. Neilsen, David Oupický, Lynette M. Smith, Vivek Verma and Chi Lin

Background: Despite the fact that stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is the only recommended first-line therapy for inoperable early-stage non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), several thermal ablative procedures (TAPs; defined herein as laser/cryoablation and electrocautery) are available. Studies showing outcomes of these procedures and how they compare with SBRT are scarce. We sought to evaluate the comparative efficacy of SBRT versus TAPs using the National Cancer Database (NCDB). Methods: The NCDB was queried for patients with early-stage NSCLC who did not undergo surgical resection. Treatment-specific inclusion criteria were applied to select for patients receiving either TAPs or SBRT. Univariate logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards modeling were performed, and Kaplan-Meier curves were generated. Serial propensity matches were performed using a modified greedy 8→n matching 1:1 algorithm. Results: A total of 27,734 patients were analyzed; 26,725 underwent SBRT and 1,009 underwent TAPs. Patients who received SBRT were older and more likely to have clinical stage IB (vs IA) disease. Despite this, SBRT was associated with longer median overall survival (mOS; 37.7 vs 33.5 months; P=.001) and 1-, 2-, and 5-year OS rates compared with the TAPs cohort (86.7% vs 83.1%, 67.5% vs 62.7%, and 30.6% vs 26.9%, respectively; P=.001). Upon propensity matching, improved OS with SBRT remained, with a mOS of 40.4 versus 33.4 months and 1-, 2-, and 5-year OS rates of 89.0% versus 82.9%, 69.7% versus 62.7%, and 34.4% versus 26.4%, respectively (P=.003). Conclusions: Despite being associated with more higher-risk factors, SBRT was associated with higher OS compared with TAPs for treatment of nonoperative patients diagnosed with early-stage NSCLC. However, causation cannot be implied owing to the inherent limitations of large heterogeneous datasets such as the NCDB.