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Refusal of Recommended Chemotherapy for Ovarian Cancer: Risk Factors and Outcomes; a National Cancer Data Base Study

Sumer K. Wallace, Jeff F. Lin, William A. Cliby, Gary S. Leiserowitz, Ana I. Tergas, and Robert E. Bristow

Objective: To identify risk factors associated with refusal of recommended chemotherapy and its impact on patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Methods: We identified patients in the National Cancer Data Base diagnosed with EOC from January 1998 to December 2011. Patients who refused chemotherapy were identified and compared with those who received recommended, multiagent chemotherapy. Univariate and multivariable analyses were performed using chi-square test with Bonferroni correction, binary logistic regression, log-rank test, and Cox proportional hazards modeling. The threshold for statistical significance was set at a P value of less than 0.05. Results: From a cohort of 147,713 eligible patients, 2,707 refused chemotherapy. These patients were compared with 92,212 patients who received recommended multiagent chemotherapy. Older age, more medical comorbidities, not having insurance, and later year of diagnosis were directly and significantly associated with chemotherapy refusal when analyzed using multivariable logistic regression. In addition, lower-than-expected facility adherence to NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Ovarian Cancer, treatment at low-volume center, lower grade, and higher stage were all significantly and independently associated with chemotherapy refusal. Median overall survival of patients who received multiagent chemotherapy was significantly longer than that of those who refused chemotherapy (43 vs 4.8 months; P<.0005). After controlling for known patient, facility, and disease prognostic factors, chemotherapy refusal is significantly associated with increased risk of death. Conclusions: Refusal of recommended chemotherapy carries significant risk of early death from ovarian cancer. Our data demonstrate that the decision to refuse chemotherapy is multifactorial and, in addition to unalterable factors (eg, stage/grade, age), involves factors that can be changed, including facility type and payor. Efforts at addressing these discrepancies in care can improve compliance with chemotherapy recommendations in the NCCN Guidelines for Ovarian Cancer and outcomes.

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Risk Factors Associated With Distress Among Postoperative Patients in an Academic Gynecologic Oncology Practice

Maya E. Gross, Janelle N. Sobecki, Chan Park, Menggang Yu, and Sumer K. Wallace

Background: Distress among gynecologic oncology patients correlates with poor clinical outcomes and decreased quality of life. The purpose of this study was to determine risk factors for elevated NCCN Distress Thermometer (DT) results among postoperative gynecologic oncology patients. Patients and Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of all postoperative visits over a 5-year period. NCCN DT results were analyzed as both discretized values (DT ≤3 = low distress; DT 4–8 = moderate distress; DT ≥9 = high distress) and continuous variables. Patients with a DT score ≥4 were referred to social work. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to compare NCCN DT results with clinical and sociodemographic variables. Statistical significance was P<.05. Results: In total, 1,795 NCCN DT results were included, with uterine (37.72%) being the most common disease site. Benign pathology was known prior to completion of the NCCN DT in 13.15% of patients. Most patients (71.75%) endorsed low levels of distress. Moderate/High levels of distress were reported by 28.25% of patients. Increasing levels of distress were significantly associated with younger age (P=.006), history of depression (P≤.001), status as a current smoker (P=.028), and history of asthma (P=.041). Knowledge of benign pathology was associated with low levels of distress (P=.002). Procedure type and disease site were not associated with distress. Conclusions: More than one-fourth of postoperative patients in a gynecologic oncology practice reported moderate or high distress. Distress was highest among those with malignancy regardless of disease site or surgical intervention. Benign pathology correlated with decreased distress. Identified associations with distress provide opportunities for prevention, early intervention, and tailored counseling.