Background and purpose: Surgery is the standard of care in stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) is increasingly used to treat patients at high-risk for surgical complications. We studied which patient- and clinician-related characteristics influenced treatment recommendations. Material and methods: A binary choice experiment with hypothetical cases was conducted. Cases varied on five patient-related characteristics: patient age, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD GOLD) score, Charlson co-morbidity index, World Health Organization performance status (WHO-PS) and patient treatment preference (surgery/SABR). Clinician characteristics were recorded. Responses were analyzed using generalized linear mixed models. Results: 126 clinicians completed the survey. All patient-related characteristics, the clinician speciality, and whether clinicians considered outcomes of surgery comparable to SABR, significantly influenced treatment recommendations. Pulmonologists were most influenced by WHO-PS and comorbidity, whereas comorbidity and age had greatest influence on radiation oncologists and surgeons. Clinicians were less influenced by stated patient preference and COPD GOLD score. Limited consistency was observed in treatment recommendations. Conclusions: This study suggests that more efforts are needed to develop uniform approaches for making treatment recommendations, and also to incorporate patient preferences when making treatment decisions for stage I NSCLC.

Non-small cell lung cancer, Practice variation, Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy, Surgery, Thoracic oncologists,
Radiotherapy & Oncology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hopmans, W, Zwaan, L, Senan, S, van der Wulp, I, Damman, O.C, Hartemink, K.J, … Timmermans, D.R.M. (2015). Differences between pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons and radiation oncologists in deciding on the treatment of stage I non-small cell lung cancer: A binary choice experiment. Radiotherapy & Oncology. doi:10.1016/j.radonc.2015.05.006