Time to Treatment Increasing With Head, Neck Cancer

Biggest increase with advanced disease, chemoradiation, treatment at academic center

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Time to treatment initiation (TTI) is rising for patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, according to a study published online Dec. 9 in Cancer.

Colin T. Murphy, M.D., from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Cancer Database to identify head and neck cancer sites (oral tongue, oropharynx, larynx, and hypopharynx) and to determine TTI (the number of days from diagnosis to the initiation of definitive treatment).

The researchers found that based on 274,630 patients from 1998 to 2011, the median TTI for all patients was 26 days, and increased from 19 to 30 days (P < 0.0001). Increased TTI was associated with treatment with chemoradiation (CRT; P < 0.0001), treatment at an academic facility (P < 0.0001), and stage IV disease (P < 0.0001). For each disease stage (P < 0.0001), treatment modality (P < 0.0001), and facility type (P < 0.0001), TTI significantly increased over time. Longer TTI was predicted in multivariate analysis by treatment at an academic facility (33 days), transitioning care (37 days), and receipt of CRT (39 days).

"Those who have advanced-stage disease, receive treatment with CRT, are treated at academic facilities, and who have a transition in care realized the greatest increases in TTI," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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