Factors Associated With Treatment Refusal and Impact of Treatment Refusal on Survival of Patients With Small Cell Lung Cancer

Poppy Elvira Deviany, Apar Kishor Ganti, K. M.Monirul Islam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: With fewer than 7% of patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) surviving 5 years after diagnosis, the receipt of recommended treatment is of utmost importance for patient survival. Nevertheless, treatment refusal by patients with SCLC has not been studied well. Our study examined factors associated with treatment refusal and the effect of refusal on patient survival. Methods: From the National Cancer Database, we analyzed data of 107,988 patients with SCLC diagnosed between 2003 and 2012. Treatment refusals were analyzed separately for chemoradiotherapy among patients with limited stage disease (LS-SCLC) and chemotherapy among those with extensive stage disease (ES-SCLC). We used logistic regression to investigate factors associated with treatment refusal. We estimated survival probability using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared survival of those who received and refused treatment using Cox proportional hazards regression analysis. Results: The refusal rates of chemoradiotherapy among patients with LS-SCLC and chemotherapy among those with ES-SCLC were 1.34% and 4.70%, respectively. From 2003 to 2012, trends show an increase of refusals, especially among the patients with ES-SCLC who were recommended chemotherapy. Multivariable analyses showed that in both SCLC groups, older age at diagnosis (>70 years), female gender, uninsured status, and presence of comorbidities were associated with treatment refusals. Patients with LS-SCLC who refused chemoradiotherapy had a higher risk of mortality than those who received treatment (HR, 4.96; 95% CI, 4.45-5.53); the median survival of those who refused treatment was 3 months vs 18 months for those who received it (P < .001). Similarly, patients with ES-SCLC who refused chemotherapy had a higher risk of mortality than those who received treatment (HR, 3.69; 95% CI, 3.48-3.92); the median survival was 1 month vs 7 months, respectively (P < .001). Conclusions: Treatment refusal among patients with SCLC was associated with worse survival. Strategies to increase patient acceptance of the recommended treatment need to be studied further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalOncology (Williston Park, N.Y.)
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2021

Keywords

  • small cell lung cancer
  • survival
  • treatment refusal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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