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Sociodemographic variation in the use of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in patients with stage IV lung, oesophageal, stomach and pancreatic cancer: evidence from population-based data in England during 2013–2014

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posted on 11.10.2018, 14:55 by Katherine E. Henson, Anna Fry, Georgios Lyratzopoulos, Michael Peake, Keith J. Roberts, Sean McPhail
Background Sociodemographic inequalities in cancer treatment have been generally described, but there is little evidence regarding patients with advanced cancer. Understanding variation in the management of these patients may provide insights into likely mechanisms leading to inequalities in survival. Methods We identified 50,232 patients with stage IV lung, oesophageal, pancreatic and stomach cancer from the English national cancer registry. A generalised linear model with a Poisson error structure was used to explore variation in radiotherapy and chemotherapy within 6 months from diagnosis by age, sex, deprivation, ethnicity, cancer site, comorbidity and, additionally, performance status. Results There was substantial variation by cancer site, large gradients by age, and non-trivial associations with comorbidity and deprivation. After full adjustment, more deprived patients were consistently least likely to be treated with chemotherapy alone or chemotherapy and radiotherapy combined compared with less deprived patients with equally advanced disease stage (treatment rate ratio: 0.82 95% CI (0.78, 0.87) for CT, 0.78 95% CI (0.71, 0.85) for CTRT p < 0.0001). Conclusions There was marked variation in the management of patients with stage IV cancer. Routinely collected data could be used for surveillance across all cancers to help reduce treatment variation and optimise outcomes among patients with advanced cancer.


Data for this study are based on patient-level information collected by the NHS, as part of the care and support of cancer patients. The data is collated, maintained and quality assured by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service, which is part of Public Health England (PHE). This study has been produced as part of the CRUK-PHE partnership. G.L. is supported by a Cancer Research UK Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship (C18081/A18180). The study was exempt from gaining individual consent having obtained Section 251 approval from the UK Patient Information Advisory Group (PIAG) (now the Confidentiality Advisory Group, CAG), under Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 (PIAG 03(a)/2001).



British Journal of Cancer, 2018, 118, pp. 1382–1390


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British Journal of Cancer


Cancer Research UK , Springer Nature





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Supplementary information is available for this paper at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-018-0028-7.



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