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Renal Cell Cancer: A Shift in Approaches for Treatment of Advanced Disease in the United States

Matthew P. Banegas, Linda C. Harlan, Bhupinder Mann, and K. Robin Yabroff

Several new agents have become available to treat renal cell cancer (RCC) in recent years, although evidence on their dissemination is limited. This study examined recent trends in RCC treatment in US community practices. Data from the population-based National Cancer Institute’s Patterns of Care studies were used to evaluate treatment of patients with RCC newly diagnosed in 2004 and 2009 (N=2357). Descriptive statistics and logistic and Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to assess treatment patterns and the associations among demographic, clinical, and hospital characteristics, with receipt of systemic therapy and time-to-systemic treatment. Between 2004 and 2009, systemic therapy use increased among patients with stage III and IV RCC, from 3.8% to 15.7% and 35.2% to 57.4%, respectively. Among patients with stage IV disease, the most commonly used therapies changed from interleukin-2 (16.3%) and interferon-alfa (16.6%) in 2004 to sunitinib (39.2%) and temsirolimus (15.2%) in 2009. Further, notable decreases were seen in the use of surgery and time-to-systemic treatment for patients with stage IV disease. Patients who were older, living in areas with lower educational attainment, and diagnosed in 2004 were significantly less likely to receive systemic therapy and had longer time-to-systemic treatment (P<.05). The findings indicate that over the past decade, treatment for RCC in the United States has evolved toward increased use of systemic therapy. As the diffusion of new therapies continues, it will be imperative to understand how variation in care for RCC will impact health outcomes and costs of care.

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Worry About Daily Financial Needs and Food Insecurity Among Cancer Survivors in the United States

Zhiyuan Zheng, Ahmedin Jemal, Reginald Tucker-Seeley, Matthew P. Banegas, Xuesong Han, Ashish Rai, Jingxuan Zhao, and K. Robin Yabroff

Background: A cancer diagnosis can impose substantial medical financial burden on individuals and may limit their ability to work. However, less is known about worry for nonmedical financial needs and food insecurity among cancer survivors. Methods: The National Health Interview Survey (2013–2017) was used to identify cancer survivors (age 18–39 years, n=771; age 40–64 years, n=4,269; age ≥65 years, n=7,101) and individuals without a cancer history (age 18–39 years, n=53,262; age 40–64 years, n=60,141; age ≥65 years, n=30,261). For both cancer survivors and the noncancer group, adjusted proportions were generated for (1) financial worry (“very/moderately/not worried”) about retirement, standard of living, monthly bills, and housing costs; and (2) food insecurity (“often/sometimes/not true”) regarding whether food would run out, the fact that food bought did not last, and the inability to afford balanced meals. Further adjusted analyses examined intensity measures (“severe/moderate/minor or none”) of financial worry and food insecurity among cancer survivors only. Results: Compared with individuals without a cancer history, cancer survivors aged 18 to 39 years reported consistently higher “very worried” levels regarding retirement (25.5% vs 16.9%; P<.001), standard of living (20.4% vs 12.9%; P<.001), monthly bills (14.9% vs 10.3%; P=.002), and housing costs (13.6% vs 8.9%; P=.001); and higher “often true” levels regarding worry about food running out (7.9% vs 4.6%; P=.004), food not lasting (7.6% vs 3.3%; P=.003), and being unable to afford balanced meals (6.3% vs 3.4%; P=.007). Findings were not as consistent for cancer survivors aged 40 to 64 years. In contrast, results were generally similar for adults aged ≥65 years with/without a cancer history. Among cancer survivors, 57.6% (age 18–39 years; P<.001), 51.9% (age 40–64 years; P<.001), and 23.8% (age ≥65 years; referent) reported severe/moderate financial worry intensity, and 27.0% (age 18–39 years; P<.001), 14.8% (age 40–64 years; P<.001), and 6.3% (age ≥65 years; referent) experienced severe/moderate food insecurity intensity. Lower income and higher comorbidities were generally associated with greater intensities of financial worry and food insecurity in all 3 age groups. Conclusions: Younger cancer survivors experience greater financial worry and food insecurity. In addition to coping with medical costs, cancer survivors with low income and multiple comorbidities struggle to pay for daily living needs, such as food, housing, and monthly bills.

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Medical Care Costs Associated With Cancer in Integrated Delivery Systems

Matthew P. Banegas, K. Robin Yabroff, Maureen C. O'Keeffe-Rosetti, Debra P. Ritzwoller, Paul A. Fishman, Ramzi G. Salloum, Jennifer Elston Lafata, and Mark C. Hornbrook

Background: The high economic burden of cancer is projected to continue growing. Cost-of-care estimates are key inputs for comparative effectiveness and economic analyses that aim to inform policies associated with cancer care. Existing estimates are based largely on SEER-Medicare data in the elderly, leaving a knowledge gap regarding costs for patients aged <65 years. Methods: We estimated total and net medical care costs using data on individuals diagnosed with breast, colorectal, lung, or prostate cancer (n=45,522) and noncancer controls (n=314,887) enrolled in 1 of 4 participating health plans. Net costs were defined as the difference in mean total costs between patients with cancer and controls. The phase-of-care approach and Kaplan-Meier Sample Average method were used to estimate mean total and net 1- and 5-year costs (in 2015 US dollars) by cancer site, stage at diagnosis, and age group (<65 and ≥65 years). Results: Total and net costs were consistently highest for lung cancer and lowest for prostate cancer. Net costs were higher across all cancer sites for patients aged <65 years than those aged ≥65 years. Medical care costs for all cancers increased with advanced stage at diagnosis. Conclusions: This study improves understanding of medical care costs for the 4 most common invasive cancers in the United States. Higher costs among patients aged <65 years highlight limitations of relying on SEER-Medicare data alone to understand the national burden of cancer, whereas higher costs for patients with advanced-stage cancer underscore the importance of early detection to curtail high long-term costs. These cost estimates can be used in the development and evaluation of interventions and policies across the cancer care continuum.

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Long-Term Patterns of Oral Anticancer Agent Adoption, Duration, and Switching in Patients With CML

Matthew P. Banegas, Donna R. Rivera, Maureen C. O’Keeffe-Rosetti, Nikki M. Carroll, Pamala A. Pawloski, David C. Tabano, Mara M. Epstein, Kai Yeung, Mark C. Hornbrook, Christine Lu, and Debra P. Ritzwoller

Background: Oral tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been the standard of care for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) since 2001. However, few studies have evaluated changes in the treatment landscape of CML over time. This study assessed the long-term treatment patterns of oral anticancer therapies among patients with CML. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included patients newly diagnosed with CML between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2016, from 10 integrated healthcare systems. The proportion of patients treated with 5 FDA-approved oral TKI agents—bosutinib, dasatinib, imatinib, nilotinib, and ponatinib—in the 12 months after diagnosis were measured, overall and by year, between 2000 and 2017. We assessed the use of each oral agent through the fourth-line setting. Multivariable logistic regression estimated the odds of receiving any oral agent, adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. Results: Among 853 patients with CML, 81% received an oral agent between 2000 and 2017. Use of non-oral therapies decreased from 100% in 2000 to 5% in 2005, coinciding with imatinib uptake from 65% in 2001 to 98% in 2005. Approximately 28% of patients switched to a second-line agent, 9% switched to a third-line agent, and 2% switched to a fourth-line agent. Adjusted analysis showed that age at diagnosis, year of diagnosis, and comorbidity burden were statistically significantly associated with odds of receiving an oral agent. Conclusions: A dramatic shift was seen in CML treatments away from traditional, nonoral chemotherapy toward use of novel oral TKIs between 2000 and 2017. As the costs of oral anticancer agents reach new highs, studies assessing the long-term health and financial outcomes among patients with CML are warranted.