Background: Evidence-based consensus guidelines recommend only observation for men with low-risk prostate cancer and life expectancy less than 10 years. This report describes the incidence, drivers, cost, and morbidity of overtreatment of low-risk prostate cancer within the United States. Methods: The SEER-Medicare Program was used to identify 11,744 men aged 66 years or older diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer in 2004 through 2007. Overtreatment of prostate cancer was defined as definitive treatment of a patient with a life expectancy of less than 10 years. Expected survival was estimated using NCCN methodology. Costs were the amount paid by Medicare in years after minus year before diagnosis. Toxicities were relevant Medicare diagnoses/interventions. P values are 2-sided. Results: Of 3001 men with low-risk prostate cancer and a life expectancy of less than 10 years, 2011 men (67%) were overtreated. On multivariable logistic regression, overtreated men were more likely to be married (odds ratio [OR], 1.29; 95% CI, 1.05–1.59; P=.02), reside in affluent regions (P<.001), and harbor more advanced disease at diagnosis (P<.001). Two-year toxicity was greater in overtreated patients (P<.001). Relative to active surveillance/watchful waiting/observation, the median additional cost per definitive treatment was $18,827 over 5 years; the cumulative annual cost attributable to overtreatment in the United States was $58.7 million. The ability to avoid treating the 80% of men with low-grade disease who will never die of prostate cancer would save $1.32 billion per year nationally. Conclusions: Overtreatment of low-risk prostate cancer is partially driven by sociodemographic factors and occurs frequently, with marked impact on patient quality of life and health-related costs.
Ayal A. Aizer, Xiangmei Gu, Ming-Hui Chen, Toni K. Choueiri, Neil E. Martin, Jason A. Efstathiou, Andrew S. Hyatt, Powell L. Graham, Quoc-Dien Trinh, Jim C. Hu and Paul L. Nguyen
Vinayak Muralidhar, Paul J. Catalano, Gally Reznor, Brandon A. Mahal, Toni K. Choueiri, Christopher J. Sweeney, Neil E. Martin, Clair J. Beard, Yu-Wei Chen, Michelle D. Nezolosky, Karen E. Hoffman, Felix Y. Feng, Quoc-Dien Trinh and Paul L. Nguyen
Background: The current NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Prostate Cancer recommend long-term androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for all men with high-risk prostate cancer treated with external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT). We determined whether the use of long-term ADT varied by the recently defined subcategories of high-risk disease (favorable, other, and very high) versus unfavorable intermediate-risk disease. Methods: We identified 5,524 patients with unfavorable-risk prostate cancer diagnosed from 2004 to 2007 and managed with EBRT using the SEER-Medicare linked database. Patients were stratified by risk group: unfavorable intermediate-risk, favorable high-risk (previously defined and validated as clinical stage T1c, Gleason score of 4 + 4 = 8, and prostate-specific antigen [PSA] level <10 ng/mL, or clinical stage T1c, Gleason score of 6, and PSA level >20 ng/mL), very-high-risk (clinical stage T3b–T4 or primary Gleason pattern 5), or other high risk (ie, neither favorable nor very high). We used multivariable competing risks regression to estimate the rates of long-term (≥2 years) ADT by group. Results: Men with favorable high-risk prostate cancer were significantly less likely to receive long-term ADT than those with other high-risk disease (15.4% vs 24.6%, adjusted hazard ratio [AHR], 0.68; 95% CI, 0.60–0.76; P<.001), and similarly likely as those with unfavorable intermediate-risk disease (AHR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.99–1.23; P=.087). Other high-risk disease was less likely to receive long-term ADT than very high-risk cancer (24.6% vs 30.8%; AHR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.74–0.93; P=.002). Conclusions: Despite current guidelines, patients with EBRT-managed high-risk prostate cancer received significantly different rates of long-course ADT based on subclassification. Our results suggest that oncologists view these patients as a heterogeneous group with favorable high-risk cancer warranting less aggressive therapy than other high-risk or very high-risk disease.
Anya Litvak, Andrea Cercek, Neil Segal, Diane Reidy-Lagunes, Zsofia K. Stadler, Rona D. Yaeger, Nancy E. Kemeny, Martin R. Weiser, Melissa S. Pessin and Leonard Saltz
Routine monitoring of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels is standard in patients with resected colorectal cancer (CRC). The incidence of false-positives and the upper limits of false-positive elevations have not been previously well characterized. A search of medical records at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center identified 728 patients who underwent an R0 resection of locoregional CRC between January 2003 and December 2012 and who had an increase in CEA level above the normal range after a normal perioperative CEA level. Of these, 358 had a false-positive elevation of CEA level, 335 had a true-positive elevation indicative of recurrent CRC, and 35 had a true-positive elevation indicative of the development of a new, non-CRC malignancy. Of those with false elevations, 111 had a single isolated CEA level elevation (median highest CEA level of 5.5 ng/mL) with no further abnormal measurements, whereas 247 had elevations on 2 or more readings, with a median highest level of 6.7 ng/mL. Of these 247 patients with confirmed false-positive CEA level elevations, only 5 (2%) had measurements greater than 15 ng/mL, and no confirmed elevation greater than 35 ng/mL was a false-positive. False-positive CEA test results in the range of 5 to 15 ng/mL are common. Confirmation of CEA elevation in this range before initiating imaging studies may be appropriate. False-positive results greater than 15 ng/mL are rare, and all confirmed CEA levels greater than 35 ng/mL were associated with cancer recurrence.