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  • Author: Monika K. Krzyzanowska x
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Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, Hani Abushomar, Xi-Kuan Chen, Katerina Gapanenko, Chelsea Taylor, Monika K. Krzyzanowska and Chaim M. Bell

Background: Patients admitted to the hospital on weekends experience worse outcomes than those admitted on weekdays. Patients with cancer may be especially vulnerable to the effects of weekend care. Our objective was to compare the care and outcomes of patients with cancer admitted urgently to the hospital on weekends and holidays versus those of patients with cancer admitted at other times. Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective study of all adult patients with cancer having an urgent hospitalization in Canada from 2010 to 2013. Patients admitted to hospital on weekends/holidays were compared with those admitted on weekdays. The primary outcome was 7-day in-hospital mortality. We also compared performance of procedures in the first 2 days of hospital admission and admission to critical care after the first 24 hours. Results: 290,471 hospital admissions were included. Patients admitted to hospital on weekends/holidays had an increased risk of 7-day in-hospital mortality (4.8% vs 4.3%; adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.13; 95% CI, 1.08–1.17), corresponding to 137 excess deaths per year compared with the weekday group. This risk persisted after restricting the analysis to patients arriving by ambulance (7.1% vs 6.4%; adjusted OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.04–1.18). Among those who had procedures in the first 4 days of admission, fewer weekend/holiday-admitted patients had them performed in the first 2 days, for 8 of 9 common procedure groups. There was no difference in critical care admission risk after the first 24 hours. Conclusions: Patients with cancer admitted to the hospital on weekends/holidays experience higher mortality relative to patients admitted on weekdays. This may result from different care processes for weekend/holiday patients, including delayed procedures. Future research is needed to identify key outcome-driving procedures, and ensure timely access to these on all days of the week.

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Christopher M. Booth, Sulaiman Nanji, Xuejiao Wei, Yingwei Peng, James J. Biagi, Timothy P. Hanna, Monika K. Krzyzanowska and William J. Mackillop

Background: International guidelines recommend adjuvant chemotherapy (ACT) for patients with stage III colon cancer. Whether efficacy observed in clinical trials translates to effectiveness in routine practice is less well understood. Here we describe use and outcomes of ACT in routine practice. Methods: All cases of colon cancer treated with surgery in Ontario 2002–2008 were identified using the population-based Ontario Cancer Registry. Linked electronic records of treatment identified surgery and ACT use. Pathology reports were obtained for a random 25% sample of all cases; patients with stage III disease were included in the study population. Modified Poisson regression was used to evaluate factors associated with ACT. Cox proportional hazards model and propensity score analysis were used to explore the association between ACT and cancer-specific survival (CSS) and overall survival (OS). Results: The study population included 2,801 patients with stage III colon cancer; 66% (n=1,861) received ACT. ACT use rates varied substantially across age groups; 90% among patients aged 20 to 49 years versus 68% among those aged 70 to 79 years (P<.001). ACT use was inversely associated with comorbidity (P<.001) and socioeconomic status (P=.049). In adjusted analyses advanced age is associated with inferior CSS and OS. Use of ACT was associated with decreased risk of death from cancer (hazard ratio [HR], 0.63; 95% CI, 0.54–0.73) and decreased risk of death from any cause (HR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.55–0.71). This result was consistent in the propensity score analysis. Conclusions: One-third of patients with stage III colon cancer in the general population do not receive ACT. Use of ACT in routine practice is associated with a substantial improvement in CSS and OS.