Publications by authors named "Nina N Sanford"

53 Publications

Self-reported reasons for colonoscopy among adults aged 45-49 versus 50 years and older from 2010-2018.

Cancer Epidemiol 2021 Jul 19;74:101984. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX, USA. Electronic address:

Background: In May of 2018, the American Cancer Society lowered the age of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening initiation from 50 to 45 years and in October 2020, United States Preventive Services Task Force published draft guidelines also lowering age of screening initiation to 45 years. Evaluating guideline adherence is needed; however, the majority of prior research on cancer screening do not distinguish whether colonoscopy was performed for true screening purposes or for post-symptomatic diagnosis.

Methods: Using data from the National Health Interview Survey between 2010 to mid-2018, we assessed response to the question "What was the MAIN reason you had [last] colonoscopy?" stratified by age (45-49 versus 50+ years). Multivariable logistic regression defined adjusted odds ratios of receiving last colonoscopy for screening controlling for relevant demographic characteristics. To estimate the cost burden of colonoscopy, the proportion of respondents reporting paying out of pocket for their last colonoscopy was assessed.

Results: Among 29,074 participants who had undergone a colonoscopy, 44.4 % of those aged 45-50 reported routine procedure as the reason for their most recent colonoscopy, as compared to 82.4 % in the 50+ age group (p < 0.001). Characteristics associated with undergoing colonoscopy as a routine procedure included Black race and male sex for both age cohorts (p < 0.01 for all). Notably, almost half (46.9 %) of participants younger than 50 years paid part of or the full cost of their colonoscopy, as compared to 30.7 % over the age of 50 (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The majority of adults aged 45-49 self-report that last colonoscopy was not performed for screening, which is unsurprising given guidelines for screening for individuals under 50. As guidelines change, continued surveillance of colonoscopy patterns across age cohorts is needed, and studies should also incorporate reasons for testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2021.101984DOI Listing
July 2021

Trends in frequency of e-cigarette use among cancer patients and survivors in the United States, 2014-2018.

Addict Behav 2021 08 16;119:106913. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX, United States. Electronic address:

Introduction: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have become increasingly popular in the United States, including among cancer survivors; however, the majority of prior studies do not report frequency of active e-cigarette usage.

Methods: Using data from the National Health Interview Survey (2014-2018), frequency of active e-cigarette usage was estimated among cancer survivors reporting history of e-cigarette usage. Multivariable logistic regression analyses defined adjusted odds of active e-cigarette usage (either every day and some days vs. not at all) by year of survey and baseline demographic characteristics.

Results: Among 1529 cancer survivors who reported ever using e-cigarettes, 1172 (76.7%) were not active users, while 145 (9.5%) and 212 (13.9%) actively used e-cigarettes every day or some days, respectively. Later year of survey was negatively associated with active e-cigarette usage (p < 0.001) as was Black race (as compared to white race, AOR 0.47, p = 0.02). Age 45-54 was positively associated with active usage (as compared to 18-34 years, AOR 1.58, p = 0.02). Notably, individuals who were former or current traditional cigarette smokers had greater odds of reporting active e-cigarette use (27.0%, AOR 4.39, p < 0.001, 23.4%, AOR 3.28, p = 0.002, respectively) as compared to never traditional cigarette smokers (7.6%).

Conclusions: The majority of cancer survivors who have ever used e-cigarettes do not appear to be actively using them. Rather, our findings suggest that the reported increasing popularity of e-cigarettes may be driven by a growing absolute proportion of individuals trying e-cigarettes over time. Those who were current or former traditional cigarette smokers were more likely to actively use e-cigarettes. Our findings can help inform current policies on e-cigarettes and contextualize studies on long-term effects of e-cigarettes among survivors of cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.106913DOI Listing
August 2021

Patterns of Dose Escalation Among Patients With Esophageal Cancer Undergoing Definitive Radiation Therapy: 2006-2016.

Adv Radiat Oncol 2021 Mar-Apr;6(2):100580. Epub 2020 Oct 9.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX.

Purpose: Although single-institution series suggest potential benefit to dose escalation in definitive radiation therapy for esophageal cancer, randomized trials including intergroup-0123 and the recently presented A Randomized Trial of Dose Escalation in definitive Chemoradiotherapy for patients with Oesophageal cancer (ARTDECO) trial showed no improvement in outcomes with higher radiation therapy dose. As such, there may be significant variation in radiation dose for definitive treatment of esophageal cancer.

Methods And Materials: The National Cancer Database was used to identify patients who received a diagnosis of nonmetastatic T2+ esophageal cancer between 2006 and 2016 who did not receive definitive surgery and were treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy doses between 41.4 and 74 Gy. Multivariable logistic regression defined adjusted odds ratios (AORs) of receipt of >50.4 Gy, including year of diagnosis (2006-2013 vs 2014-2016) ∗ histology (squamous cell carcinoma [SCC] vs adenocarcinoma) and year of diagnosis (2006-2013 vs 2014-2016) ∗ disease site (cervical esophagus vs noncervical esophagus) interaction terms, to assess whether the effect of diagnosis year on dose varied by histology and disease site, respectively.

Results: Among 14,517 patients, the most common dose was 50.4 Gy, used for 6955 (47.9%) patients. Dose escalation above 50.4 Gy was observed in 4440 (30.6%) patients and declined by year, from 42.2% in 2006 to 23.5% in 2016. Patients with SCC versus adenocarcinoma had higher odds of dose escalation (39.3% vs 23.8%; AOR 1.46; < .001), as did those with cervical esophageal primaries versus other primary sites (54.9% vs 27.4%; AOR 2.51; < .001). The effect of later diagnosis year was greater for adenocarcinoma than for SCC (pint = 0.001, AOR 0.54, < .001 vs AOR 0.71, < .001) and significant for noncervical esophagus but not cervical esophagus (pint <0.001, AOR 0.56, < .001 vs AOR 0.95, = .616).

Conclusions: Dose escalation in definitive chemoradiotherapy for esophageal cancer declined over time, particularly for adenocarcinoma histology and noncervical primary site. Given the recent results of ARTDECO, our findings can serve as a benchmark from which to measure future shifts in practice patterns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adro.2020.09.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940791PMC
October 2020

Financial worry and psychological distress among cancer survivors in the United States, 2013-2018.

Support Care Cancer 2021 Sep 16;29(9):5523-5535. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX, USA.

Background: A growing proportion of cancer survivors experience financial toxicity. However, the psychological burden of cancer costs and associated mental health outcomes require further investigation. We assessed prevalence and predictors of self-reported financial worry and mental health outcomes among cancer survivors.

Patients And Methods: Data from the 2013-2018 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for adults reporting a cancer diagnosis were used. Multivariable ordinal logistic regressions defined adjusted odds ratios (AORs) of reporting financial worry by relevant sociodemographic variables, and sample weight-adjusted prevalence of financial worry was estimated. The association between financial worry and psychological distress, as defined by the six-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale was also assessed.

Results: Among 13,361 survey participants (median age 67; 60.0% female), 9567 (71.6%) self-reported financial worry, including worries regarding costs of paying for children's college education (62.7%), maintaining one's standard of living (59.7%), and medical costs due to illness or accident (58.3%). Female sex, younger age, and Asian American race were associated with increased odds of financial worry (P < 0.05 for all). Of 13,218 participants with complete responses to K6 questions, 701 (5.3%) met the threshold for severe psychological distress. Participants endorsing financial worry were more likely to have psychological distress (6.6 vs. 1.2%, AOR 2.89, 95% CI 2.03-4.13, P< 0.001) with each additional worry conferring 23.9% increased likelihood of psychological distress.

Conclusions: A majority of cancer survivors reported financial worry, which was associated with greater odds of reporting psychological distress. Policies and guidelines are needed to identify and mitigate financial worries and psychologic distress among patients with cancer, with the goal of improving psychological well-being and overall cancer survivorship care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06084-1DOI Listing
September 2021

Trends and Factors Associated With Receipt of Upfront Surgery for Stage II to III Rectal Adenocarcinoma in the United States, 2006 to 2016.

Am J Clin Oncol 2021 05;44(5):187-194

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern.

Introduction: The German rectal study published in 2004 established neoadjuvant chemoradiation as a standard of care for locally advanced rectal cancer and current National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines endorse several preoperative regimens. Upfront surgery, however, is considered substandard care. In the era of evolving treatment paradigms for locally advanced rectal cancer, we sought to assess trends and predictors of receipt of upfront surgery for stage II to III rectal cancer.

Methods: The National Cancer Database was used to identify patients diagnosed with clinical stage II to III rectal adenocarcinoma between 2006 and 2016. Multivariable logistic regression defined adjusted odds ratios and associated 95% confidence intervals of receipt of upfront definitive surgery. The timing of upfront surgery relative to day of diagnosis and rate of receipt of adjuvant therapy were also estimated.

Results: Among 51,562 patients, 6411 (12.4%) were treated with upfront surgery, which decreased from 16.7% in 2006 to 7.1% in 2016 (P<0.001). The majority of patients (5737 [89.5%]) had definitive surgery after initial diagnostic biopsy. Variables associated with receipt of upfront surgery included female sex, older age, higher comorbidity score, and treatment at a community cancer center (P<0.001). Among those receiving upfront surgery, 2904 (45.3%) received adjuvant radiation therapy, 3218 (50.2%) received adjuvant chemotherapy, and 2559 (39.9%) received no further treatment.

Conclusions: The proportion of patients with clinical stage II to III rectal cancer treated with upfront surgery has steadily declined since 2006, however, certain subgroups appear to remain at greater risk. Further research is needed to better elucidate patient and systems-level factors contributing to these disparities in care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/COC.0000000000000808DOI Listing
May 2021

Early Palliative Care Is Associated With Reduced Emergency Department Utilization in Pancreatic Cancer.

Am J Clin Oncol 2021 05;44(5):181-186

Departments of Internal Medicine.

Objectives: Most patients with pancreatic cancer have high symptom burden and poor outcomes. Palliative care (PC) can improve the quality of care through expert symptom management, although the optimal timing of PC referral is still poorly understood. We aimed to assess the association of early PC on health care utilization and charges of care for pancreatic cancer patients.

Materials And Methods: We selected patients with pancreatic cancer diagnosed between 2000 and 2009 who received at least 1 PC encounter using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare. Patients who had unknown follow-up were excluded. We defined "early PC" if the patients received PC within 30 days of diagnosis.

Results: A total of 3166 patients had a PC encounter; 28% had an early PC. Patients receiving early PC were more likely to be female and have older age compared with patients receiving late PC (P<0.001). Patients receiving early PC had fewer emergency department (ED) visits (2.6 vs. 3.0 visits, P=0.004) and lower total charges of ED care ($3158 vs. $3981, P<0.001) compared with patients receiving late PC. Patients receiving early PC also had lower intensive care unit admissions (0.82 vs. 0.98 visits, P=0.006) and total charges of intensive care unit care ($14,466 vs. $18,687, P=0.01). On multivariable analysis, patients receiving early PC were significantly associated with fewer ED visits (P=0.007) and lower charges of ED care (P=0.018) for all patients.

Conclusions: Early PC referrals were associated with lower ED visits and ED-related charges. Our findings support oncology society guideline recommendations for early PC in patients with advanced malignancies such as pancreatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/COC.0000000000000802DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8062302PMC
May 2021

Disparities in Refusal of Locoregional Treatment for Prostate Adenocarcinoma.

JCO Oncol Pract 2021 Feb 25:OP2000839. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Purpose: We assessed sociodemographic factors associated with and survival implications of refusal of potentially survival-prolonging locoregional treatment (LT, including radiotherapy and surgery) despite provider recommendation among men with localized prostate adenocarcinoma.

Methods: The National Cancer Database (2004-2015) identified men with TxN0M0 prostate cancer who either received or refused LT despite provider recommendation. Multivariable logistic regression defined adjusted odds ratios (AORs) with 95% CI of refusing LT, with sociodemographic and clinical covariates. Models were stratified by low-risk and intermediate- or high-risk (IR or HR) disease, with a separate interaction analysis between race and risk group. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard ratios compared overall survival (OS) among men who received versus refused LT.

Results: Of 887,839 men (median age 64 years, median follow-up 6.14 years), 2,487 (0.28%) refused LT. Among men with IR or HR disease (n = 651,345), Black and Asian patients were more likely to refuse LT than White patients (0.35% 0.29% 0.17%; Black White AOR, 1.75; 95% CI, 1.52 to 2.01; < .001; Asian White AOR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.05 to 2.06; = .027, race * risk group interaction < .001). Later year of diagnosis, community facility type, noninsurance or Medicaid, and older age were also associated with increased odds of LT refusal, overall and when stratifying by risk group. For men with IR or HR disease, LT refusal was associated with worse OS (5-year OS 80.1% 91.5%, HR, 1.65, < .001).

Conclusion: LT refusal has increased over time; racial disparities were greater in higher-risk disease. Refusal despite provider recommendation highlights populations that may benefit from efforts to assess and reduce barriers to care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/OP.20.00839DOI Listing
February 2021

Disparities in Characteristics, Access to Care, and Oncologic Outcomes in Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer at a Safety-Net Hospital.

JCO Oncol Pract 2021 05 11;17(5):e614-e622. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Division of Hematology and Oncology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.

Purpose: Young-onset colorectal cancer is an emerging cause of significant morbidity and mortality globally. Despite this, limited data exist regarding clinical characteristics and outcomes, particularly in safety-net populations where access to care is limited. We aimed to study disparities in clinical characteristics and outcomes in patients with young-onset colorectal cancer in the safety-net setting.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients < 50 years old diagnosed and/or treated for colorectal cancer between 2001 and 2017 at a safety-net hospital. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression models were constructed to compare overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and relapse-free survival (RFS) by race and ethnicity, stratifying for relevant clinical and pathologic factors.

Results: A total of 395 young-onset patients diagnosed at a safety-net hospital were identified and 270 were included in the analysis (49.6% Hispanic, 25.9% non-Hispanic Black, 20.0% non-Hispanic White, and 4.4% other). Non-Hispanic White race was independently associated with worse OS (hazzard ratio [HR], 0.53; 95% CI, 0.29 to 0.97), as were lack of insurance, higher clinical stage, and mismatch repair proficiency. There was no significant difference seen in PFS or RFS between racial and ethnic groups.

Conclusion: Non-Hispanic White race or ethnicity was found to be independently associated with worse OS in a safety-net population of patients with young-onset colorectal cancer. Other independent predictors of worse OS include higher stage, lack of insurance, and mismatch repair proficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/OP.20.00777DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8120665PMC
May 2021

Psychological distress and cognition among long-term survivors of adolescent and young adult cancer in the USA.

J Cancer Surviv 2021 Jan 7. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern, 2280 Inwood Road, Dallas, TX, 75390-9303, USA.

Background: Patients diagnosed with cancer as adolescent and young adult (AYA) are at risk for a range of long-term psychosocial sequelae, which have been poorly studied. We sought to characterize the prevalence of cognitive dysfunction and psychological distress among long-term AYA cancer survivors.

Methods: Using data from the National Health Interview Survey between 2010 and 2018, multivariable logistic regression analyses defined the association between AYA cancer diagnosis and cognitive dysfunction and psychological distress, as defined by the 6-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. Among AYA cancer survivors, the association between psychological distress and cognitive dysfunction was assessed via multivariable logistic regression.

Results: Among 230,675 participants, 2646 (1.1%) were AYA cancer survivors diagnosed > 10 years prior to survey administration. Prior AYA cancer diagnosis was associated with greater odds of cognitive dysfunction (AOR 1.61, 95% CI 1.41-1.82; 27.8% vs. 16.4%) and psychological distress (AOR 1.60, 95% CI 1.41-1.83; 26.6 vs. 15.3%) as compared to individuals without a cancer history. Among survey participants reporting a cancer diagnosis, greater psychological distress was associated with greater odds of cognitive dysfunction (AOR 12.31, 95% CI 7.51-20.18 for severe psychological distress) and cognitive dysfunction was associated with having psychological distress (AOR 4.97, 95% CI 3.66-6.73).

Conclusion: Long-term survivors of AYA cancer have higher rates of cognitive dysfunction and psychological distress as compared to the general population. Additional services addressing psychosocial and neurocognitive issues should be integrated into standard AYA cancer survivorship care.

Implications For Cancer Survivors: Cancer survivors should be aware of self-reported high rates of long-term cognitive dysfunction and psychologic distress and actively seek out formal evaluation and services such as mental health counseling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11764-020-00969-6DOI Listing
January 2021

Long-Term Results of a Phase 1 Dose-Escalation Trial and Subsequent Institutional Experience of Single-Fraction Stereotactic Ablative Radiation Therapy for Liver Metastases.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2021 04 16;109(5):1387-1395. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

Department of Radiation Oncology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

Purpose: We report long-term outcomes from our phase 1 dose-escalation study to determine the maximum tolerated dose of single-fraction liver SABR pooled with our subsequent single institutional experience with patients treated postprotocol at the highest dose level (40 Gy) established from the phase 1 study.

Methods And Materials: Patients with liver metastases from solid tumors located outside of the central liver zone were treated with single-fraction SABR on a phase 1 dose escalation trial. At least 700 cc of normal liver had to receive <9.1 Gy. Seven patients with 10 liver metastases received the initial prescription dose of 35 Gy, and dose was then escalated to 40 Gy for 7 more patients with 7 liver metastases. An additional 19 postprotocol patients with 22 liver metastases were treated to 40 Gy in a single fraction. Patients were followed for toxicity and underwent serial imaging to assess local control.

Results: Median imaging follow-up for the combined cohort (n = 33, 39 lesions) was 25.9 months; 38.9 months for protocol patients and 20.2 months for postprotocol patients. Median lesion size was 2.0 cm (range, 0.5-5.0 cm). There were no dose-limiting toxicities observed for protocol patients, and only 3 grade 2 toxicities were observed in the entire cohort, with no grade ≥3 toxicities attributable to treatment. Four-year actuarial local control of irradiated lesions in the entire cohort was 96.6%, 100% in the protocol group and 92.9% in the subsequent patients. Two-year overall survival for all treated patients was 82.0%.

Conclusions: For selected patients with liver metastases, single-fraction SABR at doses of 35 and 40 Gy was safe and well-tolerated, and shows excellent local control with long-term follow-up; results in subsequent patients treated with single-fraction SABR doses of 40 Gy confirmed our earlier results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.12.012DOI Listing
April 2021

Assessment of Trends in Second Primary Cancers in Patients With Metastatic Melanoma From 2005 to 2016.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 12 1;3(12):e2028627. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

Importance: To date, the risk of developing second primary cancers (SPCs) after the first primary melanoma has not been studied in the era of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs).

Objective: To assess differences in the risk of SPCs in patients with primary melanoma before (2005-2010) and after (2011-2016) the introduction and approval of ICIs.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Population-based cohort study using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database from January 2005 to December 2016 of patients diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. Data were analyzed from January 4 to June 30, 2020.

Exposures: Receipt of immunotherapy or other anticancer agents.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcome was the development of second primary cancers in patients with melanoma. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated for the development of SPCs before and after the introduction of ICIs.

Results: Among 5016 patients with diagnosed metastatic melanoma, 2888 (58%) were younger than 65 years at the time of diagnosis, and 3441 (69%) were male. From 2005 to 2010, SIRs were 3.24 (95% CI, 0.08-18.04) for small intestine cancer, 1.93 (95% CI, 1.14-3.05) for lung and bronchus cancer, 2.77 (95% CI, 1.02-6.03) for kidney cancer, and 7.29 (95% CI, 2.93-15.02) for myeloma. From 2011 to 2016, SIRs were 9.23 (95% CI, 1.12-33.35) for small intestine cancer, 1.54 (95% CI, 0.71-2.93) for lung and bronchus cancer, 2.66 (95% CI, 0.73-6.82) for kidney cancer, and 5.90 (95% CI, 1.61-15.10) for myeloma. The overall risk of developing SPCs in individuals who survived the first primary melanoma was 65% higher (SIR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.35-2.00) in the pre-ICIs period and 98% higher (SIR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.57-2.45) in the post-ICIs period than the overall cancer incidence rate in the general population.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this study, an increase in the overall risk of second primary cancers after melanoma after the introduction of immune checkpoint inhibitors was observed. The pattern of SPCs has been altered in the era of systemic therapy. Close monitoring and screening for SPCs may be warranted in patients with metastatic melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.28627DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7726633PMC
December 2020

Factors Influencing Noncompletion of Radiation Therapy Among Men With Localized Prostate Cancer.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2021 04 1;109(5):1279-1285. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida; Office of Community Outreach and Engagement, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Miami, Florida. Electronic address:

Purpose: Treatment noncompletion may occur with radiation therapy (RT), especially with protracted treatment courses such as RT for prostate cancer, and may affect the efficacy of RT. For men with localized prostate cancer managed with primary RT, we evaluated associations between rates of treatment noncompletion and RT fractionation schedules.

Methods And Materials: The National Cancer Database identified men diagnosed from 2004 to 2014 treated with primary RT. Patients receiving 180 cGy/fraction or 200 cGy/fraction were defined as having completed radiation therapy if they received ≥41 fractions of 180 cGy/fraction or ≥37 fractions of 200 cGy/fraction. Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) was defined as 5 to 8 fractions of 600 to 800 cGy/fraction. Odds ratios compared rates of treatment noncompletion, adjusting for sociodemographic covariates. A propensity-adjusted multivariable Cox regression assessed the association between treatment completion and overall survival.

Results: Of 157,657 patients, 95.7% (n = 150,847) received conventional fractionation and 4.3% (n = 6810) received SBRT. Rates of noncompletion were 12.5% (n = 18,803) among patients who received conventional fractionation and 1.9% (n = 131) among patients who received SBRT (odds ratio [OR] versus conventional, 0.21; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.18-0.26; P < .001). The rate of noncompletion among 25,727 African American patients was 12.8%, compared with 11.8% among 126,199 white patients (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.09-1.19; P < .001). In a subgroup analysis, the disparity in noncompletion persisted for conventional fractionation (13.2% vs 12.3%, respectively; OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.05-1.13; P < .001), but not for SBRT (2.2% vs 1.8%, respectively; OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 0.79-2.00; P = .34). Noncompletion was associated with worse survival in a propensity-adjusted multivariable analysis (hazard ratio, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.22-1.29; P < .001).

Conclusions: SBRT was associated with lower rates of RT noncompletion among men with localized prostate cancer. African American race was associated with greater rates of treatment noncompletion, although the disparity may be decreased among men receiving SBRT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.11.064DOI Listing
April 2021

General and Health-Related Internet Use Among Cancer Survivors in the United States: A 2013-2018 Cross-Sectional Analysis.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2020 11 2;18(11):1468-1475. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

Background: A significant proportion of cancer survivors endorse ongoing health information needs and may use the internet to access information. We assessed patterns and predictors of general and health-specific internet use among cancer survivors.

Methods: Using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which was administered in 2013 through 2018, for adults reporting a cancer diagnosis, sample weight-adjusted estimates defined prevalence and multivariable logistic regressions defined adjusted odds ratios (aORs) of general and health-specific internet use, adjusting for relevant sociodemographic covariates, including healthcare satisfaction as the primary independent variable. The analysis for health-specific internet use was also repeated including a sex (female vs male)*healthcare satisfaction (very satisfied/somewhat satisfied vs somewhat dissatisfied/very dissatisfied) interaction term.

Results: Among 12,970 survivors of cancer, general and health-specific internet use increased from 2013 to 2018 (from 63.2% to 70.8% and from 46.8% to 52.2%, respectively; P<.05 for both). Survivors who were very dissatisfied with healthcare were more likely to use the internet for health information compared with those who were very satisfied (59.5% vs 48.0%; aOR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.20-2.64; P=.004). Younger age, female sex, higher educational attainment, and higher socioeconomic status were all associated with increased reported use of the internet for both general and health-specific purposes (P<.001 for all). There was a significant sex*healthcare satisfaction interaction (P=.009) such that for female survivors, healthcare dissatisfaction was associated with higher odds of health-specific internet use (61.4% vs 52.5%; P<.001; men, P=.97). No association was found between healthcare satisfaction and general internet use (P=.42).

Conclusions: The increasing proportion of survivors of cancer using the internet for health-specific information may be associated with self-reported dissatisfaction with healthcare. Efforts are needed to improve both access to the internet and the quality of cancer-relevant online health information, and to enhance patients' online health literacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2020.7591DOI Listing
November 2020

Trends in Primary Surgical Resection and Chemotherapy for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer, 2000-2016.

Am J Clin Oncol 2020 12;43(12):850-856

Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX.

Background: When, whether, and in whom primary tumor resection (PTR) for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) is indicated remains unknown. With advances in multiagent systemic chemotherapy, PTR may be undertaken less frequently. The aim of this study was to obtain estimates of changes in the utilization of PTR and chemotherapy for metastatic CRC.

Methods: Patients diagnosed with metastatic CRC between 2000 and 2016 were identified from Surveillance Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry. Multivariable logistic regression defined odds of undergoing PTR. The analysis was also stratified by primary site (colon vs. rectum), age (younger than 50 vs. 50 y and older), and whether patients also underwent resection of metastatic sites (yes vs. no). The secondary endpoint of interest was the receipt of any chemotherapy, also assessed by multivariable logistic regression.

Results: Among 99,835 patients with metastatic CRC, 55,527 (55.7%) underwent PTR. The odds of undergoing PTR decreased with a later year of diagnosis, with patients diagnosed in 2016 being 61.1% less likely to undergo surgery than those diagnosed in 2000 (adjusted odds ratio=0.39, 95% confidence interval: 0.36-0.42, P<0.0001; absolute percentage: 62.3% to 43.8%). Similar trends by year for PTR were observed among each of the subgroups, although patients with colon primary, young adults (age younger than 50 y), and patients also undergoing metastasectomy were more likely to undergo PTR (P<0.001 for all). In contrast, the odds of receiving chemotherapy increased dramatically with a later year of diagnosis (adjusted odds ratio=2.21, 95% confidence interval: 2.04-2.40, P<0.0001).

Conclusions: From 2000 to 2016, there was a sharp decline in the rate of PTR for patients with metastatic CRC, while the use of chemotherapy increased over the same period. Prospective studies are needed to define the optimal local treatment for patients with metastatic CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/COC.0000000000000764DOI Listing
December 2020

Psychological Distress and Access to Mental Health Services Among Cancer Survivors: a National Health Interview Survey Analysis.

J Gen Intern Med 2020 Sep 15. Epub 2020 Sep 15.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, 1600 NW 10th Ave #1140, Miami, FL, 33136, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11606-020-06204-3DOI Listing
September 2020

Mental Distress and Mental Health Services Receipt in Foreign-Born Survivors of Cancer: a National Health Interview Survey Analysis.

J Gen Intern Med 2020 Aug 17. Epub 2020 Aug 17.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, 1600 NW 10th Ave #1140, Miami, FL, 33136, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11606-020-06031-6DOI Listing
August 2020

Racial Disparities in Time to Treatment Initiation and Outcomes for Early Stage Anal Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Am J Clin Oncol 2020 11;43(11):762-769

Department of Radiation Oncology.

Objectives: Although cure rates for early stage anal squamous cell cancer (ASCC) are overall high, there may be racial disparities in receipt of treatment and outcome precluding favorable outcomes across all patient demographics. Therefore, the authors aimed to assess the time to treatment initiation and overall survival (OS) in Black and White patients receiving definitive chemoradiation for early stage ASCC.

Materials And Methods: The authors identified patients diagnosed with early stage (stage I-II) ASCC and treated with chemoradiation diagnosed between 2004 and 2016 in the National Cancer Database. Clinical and treatment variables were compared by race using the χ test, and OS assessed through Cox regression with 1:1 nearest neighbor propensity score matching.

Results: Among 9331 patients, 90.6% were White. Black patients had longer median time to treatment initiation as compared with White patients (47 vs. 36 d, P<0.001), and on multivariable analysis, the Black race was associated with higher odds of >6 weeks of time to treatment initiation (hazard ratio, 1.78; 95% confidence interval, 1.53-2.08; P<0.001). Furthermore, Black patients had worse OS (5-year survival 71% vs. 77%; P<0.001), which persisted after propensity score matching (P=0.007).

Conclusions: Black patients had a longer time to treatment initiation and worse OS as compared with White patients with early stage ASCC treated with chemoradiation. Further research is needed to better elucidate the etiologies of these disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/COC.0000000000000744DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7584763PMC
November 2020

Feasibility and Outcome of Routine Use of Concurrent Chemoradiation in HIV-positive Patients With Squamous Cell Anal Cancer.

Am J Clin Oncol 2020 10;43(10):701-708

Departments of Radiation Oncology.

Objectives: Clinical concerns about hematologic toxicities in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)+ patients with squamous cell anal cancer (SCAC) may lead to de-escalation of treatment intensity. The objective of this study is to evaluate clinical outcomes including toxicity following standard concurrent curative-intent chemoradiation for HIV+ and HIV- patients with SCAC.

Materials And Methods: Among 97 evaluable patients treated between 2009 and 2016 (median age 52.2 y), 43 (44.3%) were HIV+ and 54 (55.7%) HIV-. The majority of the radiation was delivered using intensity-modulated radiation therapy and chemotherapy consisting primarily (93%) of 5-fluorouracil and mitomycin C. Clinical outcomes assessed included toxicity, locoregional control (LRC), distant metastasis (DM), progression-free survival (PFS), colostomy-free survival (CFS), overall survival (OS), and cause-specific survival (CSS).

Results: With a median follow-up of 45 months, HIV+ patients exhibited a trend toward reduced OS compared with HIV- patients (4 y OS 61.2% vs. 78.3%; HR 2.09; 95% CI, 0.97-4.52; P=0.055) on univariable analysis, but HIV status was not significant after adjusting for additional parameters on multivariable analysis. Toxicity rates, LRC, CFS, PFS, freedom from DM, and CSS were similar between the 2 cohorts. On multivariable analysis, tumor size >5 cm impacted all clinical outcomes (trend for LRC) except CFS. Radiation treatment extension beyond 7 days was found to negatively impact LRC and CSS. Male sex was associated with worse CFS.

Conclusions: Radiation therapy with concurrent 5-fluorouracil and mitomycin C chemotherapy is reasonably well-tolerated as curative treatment for HIV+ patients with SCAC, and no significant difference in outcomes was noted relative to HIV- patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/COC.0000000000000736DOI Listing
October 2020

Recent Trends and Overall Survival of Young Versus Older Adults With Stage II to III Rectal Cancer Treated With and Without Surgery in the United States, 2010-2015.

Am J Clin Oncol 2020 10;43(10):694-700

Departments of Radiation Oncology.

Background: The omission of surgery via nonoperative management (NOM) for rectal cancer may be increasing, and this strategy could be particularly attractive for younger patients, whose incidence of rectal cancer has been rising. We sought to assess trends in NOM in young (younger than 55 y) versus older adult (55 y and older) rectal cancer cohorts.

Methods: The National Cancer Database was used to identify patients diagnosed with stage II to III rectal cancer between 2010 and 2015. Multivariable logistic regression defined the association between sociodemographic variables and odds of NOM, including an age (18 to 54 vs. 55+ y)×surgery (surgery vs. NOM) interaction term. Adjusted Cox regression models compared overall survival between NOM versus surgery.

Results: Among 22,561 patients with a median follow-up of 37.5 months, the utilization rate of NOM increased from 10.7% (2010) to 15.2% (2015). Older patients were more likely to receive NOM, although rates also increased among young (7.1% to 10.6%). Black patients were also more likely to receive NOM (P<0.001). Among the entire cohort, NOM was associated with worse overall survival (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR]=2.90, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.67-3.15) and there was a statistically significant age×NOM interaction (P=0.01) such that the effect of NOM on survival was worse for younger (AHR=3.37, 95% CI: 2.82-4.02) as compared with older patients (AHR=2.49, 95% CI: 2.27-2.74).

Conclusions: The increasing trend for NOM in stage II to III rectal cancer may be driven by disparities in treatment. Management with NOM appears to be associated with poorer survival, particularly in younger patients and could worsen outcomes for groups already at risk for suboptimal cancer care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/COC.0000000000000733DOI Listing
October 2020

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy to a Splenic Metastasis in Oligoprogressive Non-small Cell Lung Cancer.

Adv Radiat Oncol 2020 May-Jun;5(3):516-521. Epub 2019 Dec 31.

Departments of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adro.2019.12.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7276683PMC
December 2019

Definitive re-irradiation of locally recurrent esophageal cancer after trimodality therapy in patients with a poor performance status.

Mol Clin Oncol 2020 Jul 11;13(1):27-32. Epub 2020 May 11.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

There are few treatment guidelines for locally recurrent esophageal cancer after trimodality treatment (pre-operative chemoradiation followed by surgery) in patients with a poor performance status. The purpose of this single institutional, retrospective study was to evaluate the clinical outcomes and toxicities of definitive-intent re-irradiation for patients with recurrent esophageal cancer with a poor performance status [ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group) ≥2]. Seven patients were identified with a median age of 74 years (range, 61-81 years). Four patients were ECOG 2 and three patients were ECOG 3. The median follow-up time after re-irradiation was 49 months. The median interval between initial radiotherapy and re-treatment was 32 months. Six patients received concurrent chemotherapy [carboplatin + paclitaxel in three patients; folinic acid, fluorouracil, oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) + 5-fluorouracil in one patient; FOLFOX in one patient, and capecitabine in one patient]. At the last follow-up, the six patients who underwent concurrent chemotherapy had stable disease (86%), while the one who did not receive chemotherapy progressed (14%). Two patients developed metastases. Three patients developed acute (<6 months) grade 4 toxicities (dysphagia, anemia, esophagitis). There were no early deaths attributable to treatment. Late toxicities (>6 months) were limited to grades 1 and 2 dysphagia and pneumonitis in four patients. In conclusion, definitive re-irradiation of recurrent esophageal cancer in patients with a poor performance status appears to be safe with acceptable acute toxicity and late complications. It also appears to result in durable local control when combined with chemotherapy, albeit with a small number of patients and limited follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/mco.2020.2044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7241232PMC
July 2020

Dosimetric Analysis and Normal-Tissue Complication Probability Modeling of Child-Pugh Score and Albumin-Bilirubin Grade Increase After Hepatic Irradiation.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2020 08 27;107(5):986-995. Epub 2020 Apr 27.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:

Purpose: This study aimed to develop robust normal-tissue complication probability (NTCP) models for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma treated with radiation therapy (RT) using Child-Pugh (CP) score and albumin-bilirubin (ALBI) grade increase as endpoints for hepatic toxicity.

Methods And Materials: Data from 108 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma treated with RT between 2008 and 2017 were evaluated, of which 47 patients (44%) were treated with proton RT. Of these patients, 29 received stereotactic body RT and 79 moderately hypofractionated RT to median physical tumor doses of 43 Gy in 5 fractions and 59 Gy in 15 fractions, respectively. A generalized Lyman-Kutcher-Berman (LKB) model was used to model the NTCP using 2 clinical endpoints, both evaluated at 3 months after RT: CP score increase of ≥2 and ALBI grade increase of ≥1 from the pre-RT baseline. Confidence intervals on LKB fit parameters were determined using bootstrap resampling.

Results: Compared with previous NTCP models, this study found a stronger correlation between normal liver volume receiving low doses of radiation (5-10 Gy) and a CP score or ALBI grade increase. A CP score increase exhibited a stronger correlation to normal liver volumes irradiated than an ALBI grade increase. LKB models for CP increase found values for the volume-effect parameter of a = 0.06 for all patients, and a = 0.02/0.09 when fit to photon/proton patients separately. Subset analyses for patients with superior initial liver functions showed consistent dose-volume effects (a = 0.1) and consistent dose-response relationships.

Conclusions: This study presents an update of liver NTCP models in the era of modern RT techniques using relevant endpoints of hepatic toxicity, CP score and ALBI grade increase. The results show a stronger influence of low-dose bath on hepatic toxicity than those found in previous studies, indicating that RT techniques that minimize the low-dose bath may be beneficial for patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.04.027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7381375PMC
August 2020

Stage-specific Conditional Survival Among Young (Age Below 50 y) Versus Older (Age 50 y and Above) Adults With Colorectal Cancer in the United States.

Am J Clin Oncol 2020 07;43(7):526-530

Departments of Radiation Oncology.

Background: Conditional survival (CS) is a relevant prognostic measure and may be particularly important for young adult patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), whose incidence is rising. We sought to compare CS among young versus older adults with CRC.

Methods: Patients diagnosed with CRC between 2004 and 2010 were identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry. Smoothed yearly hazards of death due to CRC, other causes and any cause were estimated, stratified by age at diagnosis (below 50 vs. 50 y and above) and stage (I-III vs. IV). Stage-specific conditional 5-year overall survival and cancer-specific survival given that patients had already survived 1 to 5 years after diagnosis was calculated.

Results: Among 161,859 patients with median follow-up of 54 months, 35,411 (21.9%) were aged below 50 years. For older adults with nonmetastatic CRC, hazards of death due to noncancer causes exceeded that of rectal and colon cancer ∼6.1 and 3.8 years after diagnosis, respectively. Patients experienced improved CS over time with greater improvement seen for more advanced stages. However, young adults had less CS improvement over time than older adults. For example, the 5-year cancer-specific survival for stage IV colon cancer improved from 15.6% to 77.2% (change=61.6%) 0 to 5 years after diagnosis for older adults but only 20.3% to 67.7% (change=47.4%) for young adults.

Conclusions: Prognosis for CRC improves over time for all patients, although the increase in survival appears to be less for young than older adults. Up to 10 years after diagnosis, the primary cause of death in young adults with CRC remains their incident cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/COC.0000000000000698DOI Listing
July 2020

Physician Practice Variability in the Use of Extended-Fraction Radiation Therapy for Bone Metastases: Are We Choosing Wisely?

JCO Oncol Pract 2020 08 13;16(8):e758-e769. Epub 2020 Apr 13.

Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

Purpose: Routine use of extended-fraction (> 10 fractions) radiation therapy (RT) for palliation of bone metastases is recognized as a low-value intervention by the American Society for Radiation Oncology. We examined contemporary practice patterns of, and physician characteristics associated with extended-fraction RT use.

Materials And Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using Medicare fee-for-service data. We included patients who underwent 2- or 3-dimensional external-beam RT for bone metastases between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2018. Physicians treating > 10 patients over the study period were analyzed for their individual practice. Hierarchic logistic regression modeling was used to identify patient- and physician-level factors associated with extended-fraction RT use.

Results: A total of 12,221 patients (median age, 75.6 years; 40.9% women, 87.6% white) were included. The rate of extended-fraction RT was 23.4%. A total of 1,432 physicians treated any patient. Among the 382 physicians treating > 10 patients, 127 (33.2%) used extended-fraction RT > 30% (consensus threshold). Physician factors associated with decreased odds of extended-fraction RT were years since medical school graduation (≤ 10 years and 11-20 years ≥ 31 years: adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.32 [95% CI, 0.20 to 0.51] and 0.64 [95% CI, 0.44 to 0.93]) and practicing in the Northeast or Midwest versus the South (aOR, 0.36 [95% CI, 0.22 to 0.58] and 0.48 [95% CI, 0.31 to 0.74]). Physicians treating > 20 patients ( 11-14 patients) over the study period had increased odds of delivering extended-fraction RT (aOR, 1.53 [95% CI, 1.10 to 2.12]).

Conclusion: In this study, almost one fourth of patients received extended-fraction RT, and one third of physicians had an extended-fraction RT use rate of > 30%. Personalized feedback of performance data, clinical pathways and peer review, and updated reimbursement models are potential mechanisms to address this low-value care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JOP.19.00633DOI Listing
August 2020

Patterns of Care for Stage II-III Rectosigmoid Cancers in the United States, 2004-2015.

Am J Clin Oncol 2020 05;43(5):311-318

Departments of Radiation Oncology.

Objectives: Although current guidelines continue to recommend trimodality therapy for stage II to III rectal cancers, a lower incidence of local recurrence has been observed in patients with upper rectal tumors, including those in the rectosigmoid. In practice, patients with upper rectal tumors may not be receiving all 3 modalities of therapy. Patterns of care for patients with rectosigmoid cancers have not previously been described.

Methods: The National Cancer Database (NCDB) was used to identify patients diagnosed with stage II to III rectosigmoid cancer who underwent definitive surgery between 2004 and 2015. Multivariable logistic regression defined adjusted odds ratio and associated 95% confidence intervals of receipt of any pelvic radiotherapy and preoperative and postoperative pelvic radiotherapy. Multivariable logistic regression also assessed odds of treatment with any chemotherapy and multiagent chemotherapy.

Results: Among 8410 patients, 3566 (42.4%) received any pelvic radiotherapy, of which 2516 (70.6%) were treated with preoperative radiotherapy. Factors associated with receipt of radiotherapy included male sex, white race, younger age, positive clinical nodes and positive margins (P<0.001). Among patients with clinically positive nodes, 1980 (48.6%) received any radiotherapy and among those with pathologically positive nodes, 1532 (37.9%) received radiotherapy. A total of 5708 patients (67.9%) received any chemotherapy including 3020 (52.9%) with multiagent chemotherapy. A total of 2579 (30.7%) of the cohort was treated with surgery alone and among patients who were T3N0, this proportion rose to 42.5%.

Conclusions: Less than half of patients with stage II to III rectosigmoid cancers are treated with radiation therapy and approximately one third do not receive chemotherapy. Ongoing and future studies may help to better tailor treatment for rectosigmoid tumors to optimize the therapeutic ratio. Our work may serve as a benchmark on which to compare future practice patterns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/COC.0000000000000674DOI Listing
May 2020

Obesity and younger versus older onset colorectal cancer in the United States, 1998-2017.

J Gastrointest Oncol 2020 Feb;11(1):121-126

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute McGraw/Patterson Center for Population Sciences, Boston, MA, USA.

The etiology behind the increasing incidence of early onset colorectal cancer (EOCRC) are incompletely elucidated, but could be attributed in part to lifestyle factors. We assessed the association between obesity and colorectal cancer (CRC) in younger versus older adults in the National Health Institute Survey. Multivariable logistic regression defined adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for CRC including an age (< ≥50 years) *BMI (< ≥30.0 kg/m) interaction term. Among 583,511 study participants with a total of 3,173 CRC cases, there was a significant age*BMI interaction term (P=0.02) such that for participants aged 18-49 years, BMI ≥30.0 kg/m was associated with diagnosis of CRC (34.1% 27.4%, AOR 1.39, 95% CI: 1.00-1.92) but not for participants aged ≥50 (29.6% 31.4%, AOR 0.93, 95% CI: 0.85-1.03). Obese BMI appears to be associated with diagnosis of EOCRC, thus weight control by early adulthood, among other healthy lifestyle behaviors, could serve as potential risk reduction strategies for CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/jgo.2019.12.07DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7052754PMC
February 2020

Outcomes of HPV-Associated Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck: Impact of Race and Socioeconomic Status.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2020 02;18(2):177-184

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

Background: Socioeconomic factors affecting outcomes of HPV-associated squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) are poorly characterized.

Methods: A custom SEER database identified adult patients with primary nonmetastatic SCCHN and known HPV status diagnosed in 2013 through 2014. Multivariable logistic regression defined associations between patient characteristics and HPV status, with adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals reported. Fine-Gray competing risks regression estimated adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) and 95% confidence intervals for cancer-specific mortality (CSM), including a disease subsite * HPV status * race interaction term.

Results: A total of 4,735 patients with nonmetastatic SCCHN and known HPV status were identified. HPV-associated SCCHN was positively associated with an oropharyngeal primary, male sex, and higher education, and negatively associated with uninsured status, single marital status, and nonwhite race (P≤.01 for all). For HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCCHN, white race was associated with lower CSM (aHR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.34-0.88; P=.01) and uninsured status was associated with higher CSM (aHR, 3.12; 95% CI, 1.19-8.13; P=.02). These associations were not observed in HPV-negative or nonoropharynx SCCHN. Accordingly, there was a statistically significant disease subsite * HPV status * race interaction (Pinteraction<.001).

Conclusions: Nonwhite race and uninsured status were associated with worse CSM in HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCCHN, whereas no such associations were observed in HPV-negative or nonoropharyngeal SCCHN. These results suggest that despite having clinically favorable disease, nonwhite patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCCHN have worse outcomes than their white peers. Further work is needed to understand and reduce socioeconomic disparities in SCCHN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2019.7356DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7384230PMC
February 2020

Trends, Quality, and Readability of Online Health Resources on Proton Radiation Therapy.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2020 05 24;107(1):33-38. Epub 2020 Jan 24.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:

Purpose: Many patients weighing cancer treatment options may consider relatively novel options including proton radiation therapy (PRT) and turn to the Internet for online health resources (OHR). However, quality and readability of OHR for radiation oncology therapies has been shown to need improvement. Because the OHR that patients access can influence their treatment decisions, our study sought to understand the patterns of use, quality, and readability of OHR on PRT.

Methods And Materials: To validate the need to assess OHR on PRT, we assessed search patterns in the United States for the search phrase "proton therapy" using Google Trends. The Google search engine was then queried for websites with PRT information using 10 search phrases. The subsequent websites were analyzed for readability by the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level and a Composite Grade Level (CGL) metric comprised of 5 readability metrics. Quality was analyzed using the DISCERN instrument.

Results: Search volume index for "proton therapy" increased by an average of 2.0% each year for the last 15 years (January 1, 2005 to June 1, 2019, P < .001). States that had a greater number of proton centers tended to have a greater relative search volume in Google (P < .001). Of the 45 unique websites identified, the mean Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level was 12.0 (range, 7.3-18.6) and the mean CGL was 12.4 (range, 7-18). In addition, 80% of PRT pages required greater than 11th grade CGL. The mean DISCERN score of all websites was 39.8 out of 75, which corresponds to "fair" quality OHR.

Conclusions: Despite increasing interest in PRT OHR, in general, PRT websites require reading levels much higher than currently recommended, making PRT OHR less accessible to the average patient. Provision of high-quality PRT OHR at the appropriate reading level may increase comprehension of PRT, improve patient autonomy, and facilitate informed decision-making among radiation oncology patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2019.12.043DOI Listing
May 2020

Alcohol Use Among Patients With Cancer and Survivors in the United States, 2000-2017.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2020 01;18(1):69-79

McGraw/Patterson Center for Population Sciences, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: Alcohol use is an established risk factor for several malignancies and is associated with adverse oncologic outcomes among individuals diagnosed with cancer. The prevalence and patterns of alcohol use among cancer survivors are poorly described.

Methods: We used the National Health Interview Survey from 2000 to 2017 to examine alcohol drinking prevalence and patterns among adults reporting a cancer diagnosis. Multivariable logistic regression was used to define the association between demographic and socioeconomic variables and odds of self-reporting as a current drinker, exceeding moderate drinking limits, and engaging in binge drinking. The association between specific cancer type and odds of drinking were assessed.

Results: Among 34,080 survey participants with a known cancer diagnosis, 56.5% self-reported as current drinkers, including 34.9% who exceeded moderate drinking limits and 21.0% who engaged in binge drinking. Younger age, smoking history, and more recent survey period were associated with higher odds of current, exceeding moderate, and binge drinking (P<.001 for all, except P=.008 for excess drinking). Similar associations persisted when the cohort was limited to 20,828 cancer survivors diagnosed ≥5 years before survey administration. Diagnoses of melanoma and cervical, head and neck, and testicular cancers were associated with higher odds of binge drinking (P<.05 for all) compared with other cancer diagnoses.

Conclusions: Most cancer survivors self-report as current alcohol drinkers, including a subset who seem to engage in excessive drinking behaviors. Given that alcohol intake has implications for cancer prevention and is a potentially modifiable risk factor for cancer-specific outcomes, the high prevalence of alcohol use among cancer survivors highlights the need for public health strategies aimed at the reduction of alcohol consumption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2019.7341DOI Listing
January 2020

Prostate cancer incidence across stage, NCCN risk groups, and age before and after USPSTF Grade D recommendations against prostate-specific antigen screening in 2012.

Cancer 2020 02 3;126(4):717-724. Epub 2019 Dec 3.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: We sought to determine the extent to which US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) 2012 Grade D recommendations against prostate-specific antigen screening may have impacted recent prostate cancer disease incidence patterns in the United States across stage, National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) risk groups, and age groups.

Methods: SEER*Stat version 8.3.4 was used to calculate annual prostate cancer incidence rates from 2010 to 2015 for men aged ≥50 years according to American Joint Committee on Cancer stage at diagnosis (localized vs metastatic), NCCN risk group (low vs unfavorable [intermediate or high-risk]), and age group (50-74 years vs ≥75 years). Age-adjusted incidences per 100,000 persons with corresponding year-by-year incidence ratios (IRs) were calculated using the 2000 US Census population.

Results: From 2010 to 2015, the incidence (per 100,000 persons) of localized prostate cancer decreased from 195.4 to 131.9 (P  < .001) and from 189.0 to 123.4 (P  < .001) among men aged 50-74 and ≥75 years, respectively. The largest relative year-by-year decline occurred between 2011 and 2012 in NCCN low-risk disease (IR, 0.77 [0.75-0.79, P < .0001] and IR 0.68 [0.62-0.74, P < .0001] for men aged 50-74 and ≥75 years, respectively). From 2010-2015, the incidence of metastatic disease increased from 6.2 to 7.1 (P  < .001) and from 16.8 to 22.6 (P  < .001) among men aged 50-74 and ≥75 years, respectively.

Conclusions: This report illustrates recent prostate cancer "reverse migration" away from indolent disease and toward more aggressive disease beginning in 2012. The incidence of localized disease declined across age groups from 2012 to 2015, with the greatest relative declines occurring in low-risk disease. Additionally, the incidence of distant metastatic disease increased gradually throughout the study period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.32604DOI Listing
February 2020
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