Lung cancer clinicians' preferences for adjuvant chemotherapy in non-small-cell lung cancer: what makes it worthwhile?

Lung Cancer

PubMedID: 20817340

Blinman P, McLachlan SA, Nowak AK, Duric VM, Brown C, Wright G, Millward M, Fong K, Stockler MR. Lung cancer clinicians' preferences for adjuvant chemotherapy in non-small-cell lung cancer: what makes it worthwhile?. Lung Cancer. 2011;72(2):213-8.
AIMS
We sought (i) lung cancer clinicians' judgements about the smallest survival benefits that would make the harms of adjuvant chemotherapy for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) worthwhile, (ii) factors associated with their judgements, and (iii) comparisons with breast cancer and colon cancer clinicians surveyed similarly in 2002-2003.

METHODS
Delegates at the Australian Lung Cancer Conference 2008 were invited to complete a validated, self-administered questionnaire that used the time trade-off method to determine the minimum survival benefits judged sufficient to make adjuvant chemotherapy worthwhile. The baseline survival times were 3 and 5 years, and the baseline 5-year survival rates were 50% and 65%. Chemotherapy was 4 cycles of cisplatin and vinorelbine.

RESULTS
Characteristics of the 156 respondents were: median age 41 years (range 23-62), female 55%, married 83%, with dependent children 62%, respiratory physician 28%, nurse 24%, medical oncologist 14%, radiation oncologist 12%, trial nurse/coordinator 12%, thoracic surgeon 4%. Moderate survival benefits were judged sufficient to make chemotherapy worthwhile. The median benefit judged sufficient was an extra 9 months beyond a baseline survival time of 3 or 5 years. The median benefit judged sufficient was an extra 5% for a baseline survival rate of 65%, versus an extra 10% for a baseline survival rate of 50% (p<0.001). Smaller benefits were judged sufficient by clinicians who were married (p=0.02) or had dependants (p=0.04). Lung cancer clinicians judged smaller benefits sufficient than breast cancer (n=89) and colon cancer (n=72) clinicians in similar prior studies (median required benefit of 9 months versus 12 months, p<0.001).

CONCLUSION
Most lung cancer clinicians attending a national lung cancer conference judged moderate improvements in survival sufficient to make adjuvant chemotherapy worthwhile. Smaller benefits were judged sufficient by lung cancer clinicians in 2008 than by breast cancer and colon cancer clinicians 5-6 years earlier. Clinicians should be aware of their own preferences, and explore their patients' preferences, when discussing adjuvant chemotherapy.