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Ali Mokdad, Travis Browning, John C. Mansour, Hao Zhu, Amit G. Singal and Adam C. Yopp

Background: The diagnosis and treatment of cancer is a continuum, with multiple steps and interfaces between patients and providers allowing for potential delays in cancer recognition and subsequent treatment. The diagnosis and treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is especially prone to missteps along the continuum, leading to treatment delays due to non–tissue-based diagnosis and multiprovider treatments. The aim of this study was to evaluate outcome measures after implementation of a voice messaging system (VMS) designed to streamline patient referrals to downstream treatment physicians and ultimately reduce delays in HCC treatment, thereby improving outcome measures. Methods: A retrospective study of outpatients with HCC was conducted in a safety net hospital between February 2008 and January 2012. In February 2010, VMS notification of HCC to the ordering physician and downstream treating physicians was implemented. Patients were divided into 2 groups: (1) preintervention: diagnosis 2 years before implementation or failure of notification following implementation, and (2) postintervention: diagnosis 2 years after implementation. Demographics, tumor characteristics, treatment, and survival were compared. Results: This study included 96 patients diagnosed with HCC: 51 in the preintervention group and 45 in the postintervention group. The main cause of chronic liver disease was HCV infection, and no differences in symptoms, liver dysfunction, tumor characteristics, or treatment were observed between groups. The time from diagnosis to clinic contact (0.5 vs 2.9 months; P=.003) and time from detection to treatment (2.2 vs 5.5 months; P=.005) was significantly shorter after implementation of the VMS. Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage A status (hazard ratio [HR], 3.1; 95% CI, 2, 6), treatment (HR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1, 4), and VMS (HR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1, 3) were independently associated with overall survival. Patients diagnosed after implementation of the VMS had a median survival of 28.5 versus 15.7 months (P=.02). Conclusions: Implementation of VMS reduces time to treatment and time to clinic visit. Reduction in time to treatment is associated with improved outcome independent of tumor stage, underlying liver function, and treatment.

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Nina N. Sanford, Todd A. Aguilera, Michael R. Folkert, Chul Ahn, Brandon A. Mahal, Herbert Zeh, Muhammad S. Beg, John Mansour and David J. Sher

Background: Adjuvant therapy for resected pancreatic adenocarcinoma was given a category 1 NCCN recommendation in 2000, yet many patients do not receive chemotherapy after definitive surgery. Whether sociodemographic disparities exist for receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy is poorly understood. Methods: The National Cancer Database was used to identify patients diagnosed with nonmetastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma who underwent definitive surgery from 2004 through 2015. Multivariable logistic regression defined the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and associated 95% CI of receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy. Among patients receiving chemotherapy, multivariable logistic regression assessed the odds of treatment with multiagent chemotherapy. Results: Among 18,463 patients, 11,288 (61.1%) received any adjuvant chemotherapy. Sociodemographic factors inversely associated with receipt of any adjuvant chemotherapy included uninsured status (aOR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.50–0.74), Medicaid insurance (aOR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.57–0.77), and lower income (P<.001 for all income levels compared with ≥$46,000). Black race (aOR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.57–0.90) and female sex (aOR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.65–0.86) were associated with lower odds of receiving multiagent chemotherapy. There was a statistically significant interaction term between black race and age/comorbidity status (P=.03), such that 26.4% of black versus 35.8% of nonblack young (aged ≤65 years) and healthy (Charlson-Deyo comorbidity score 0) patients received multiagent adjuvant chemotherapy (P=.006), whereas multiagent adjuvant chemotherapy rates were similar among patients who were not young and healthy (P=.15). Conclusions: In this nationally representative study, receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy appeared to be associated with sociodemographic characteristics, independent of clinical factors. Sociodemographic differences in receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy may represent a missed opportunity for improving outcomes and a driver of oncologic disparities.

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Ali A. Mokdad, Rebecca M. Minter, Adam C. Yopp, Matthew R. Porembka, Sam C. Wang, Hong Zhu, Mathew M. Augustine, John C. Mansour, Michael A. Choti and Patricio M. Polanco

Background: Preoperative therapy is being increasingly used in the treatment of resectable pancreatic cancer. Because there are only limited data on the optimal preoperative regimen, we compared overall survival (OS) between preoperative chemotherapy (CT) and preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) in resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Patients and Methods: Patients receiving preoperative therapy and resection for clinical T1–3N0–1M0 adenocarcinoma of the pancreas were identified in the National Cancer Database for 2006 through 2012. We constructed inverse probability of treatment weights to balance baseline group differences, and compared OS between CT and CRT, as well as pathologic and postoperative findings. Results: We identified 1,326 patients (CT: 616; CRT: 710). Differences in OS were not significant between CRT and CT (median survival, 25 vs 26 months; P=.10; weight-adjusted hazard ratio, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.77–1.02). Compared with patients in the CT group, those in the CRT group had lower pathologic T stage (ypT0/T1/T2: 36% vs 21%; P<.01), less lymph node involvement (ypN1: 35% vs 59%; P<.01), and fewer positive resection margins (14% vs 21%; P=.01), but had more postoperative unplanned readmissions (9% vs 6%; P=.01) and increased 90-day mortality (7% vs 4%; P=.03). Those in the CRT group were also less likely to receive postoperative therapy (26% vs 51%; P<.01). Conclusions: Preoperative CT and CRT have similar OS, but CRT is associated with more favorable pathologic features at the cost of higher postoperative morbidity and mortality. Additional trials investigating preoperative therapy are needed for patients with resectable pancreatic cancer.