Lung cancer patients have better outcomes at high-volume treatment centers

Lung cancer patients who are treated at medical centers with high clinical trial participation are more likely to experience positive outcomes and lower mortality risk than patients who are treated at centers with low trial participation, according to a new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The research was led by Bree Eaton, MD, a board-certified radiation oncologist in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

For the sake of the study, Dr. Eaton and her colleagues define high-volume centers as those with clinical trials with more than three enrolled patients. All total, they examined outcomes for nearly 500 patients participating in clinical trials at 180 different treatment centers.

Highlighted below are four findings from the study.

1. Patients treated at high-volume centers experienced significantly longer progression-free survival (11.4 months) compared to patients at low-volume centers (9.7 months).

2. The median overall survival rate at high-volume centers was also higher than low-volume centers, at 26.2 months versus 19.8 months, respectively.

3. The absolute survival difference between patients treated at high- and low-volume centers was greater than 10 percent after two years, which is statistically significant.

4. Even when taking into account patient variables — such as sex, race, smoking status and tumor location — high-volume centers had lower mortality rates from all causes than low-volume centers.

"It's hard to say conclusively but the underlying hypothesis and belief is that at large volume centers, where physicians and care teams are specialized in treating that specific type of malignancy, particularly in instances where treatment is life-saving or the risk for severe toxicity is high, that outcomes are better at high volume centers, as opposed to small community centers where the people there treat a variety of things," Dr. Eaton told Reuters Health.



More articles on lung health:
Early lung cancer screening improves survival rate more than 70%
Persistent asthma in children can become chronic lung disease in adults
Human lung disease discovered in dogs may help develop treatments for people

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