Zhang Y, Simoff MJ, Ost D, Wagner OJ, Lavin J, Nauman B, Hsieh MC, Wu XC, Pettiford B, and Shi L. Understanding the patient journey to diagnosis of lung cancer. BMC Cancer 2021; 21(1):402.
OBJECTIVE: This research describes the clinical pathway and characteristics of two cohorts of patients. The first cohort consists of patients with a confirmed diagnosis of lung cancer while the second consists of patients with a solitary pulmonary nodule (SPN) and no evidence of lung cancer. Linked data from an electronic medical record and the Louisiana Tumor Registry were used in this investigation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: REACHnet is one of 9 clinical research networks (CRNs) in PCORnet®, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network and includes electronic health records for over 8 million patients from multiple partner health systems. Data from Ochsner Health System and Tulane Medical Center were linked to Louisiana Tumor Registry (LTR), a statewide population-based cancer registry, for analysis of patient's clinical pathways between July 2013 and 2017. Patient characteristics and health services utilization rates by cancer stage were reported as frequency distributions. The Kaplan-Meier product limit method was used to estimate the time from index date to diagnosis by stage in lung cancer cohort.
RESULTS: A total of 30,559 potentially eligible patients were identified and 2929 (9.58%) had primary lung cancer. Of these, 1496 (51.1%) were documented in LTR and their clinical pathway to diagnosis was further studied. Time to diagnosis varied significantly by cancer stage. A total of 24,140 patients with an SPN were identified in REACHnet and 15,978 (66.6%) had documented follow up care for 1 year. 1612 (10%) had no evidence of any work up for their SPN. The remaining 14,366 had some evidence of follow up, primarily office visits and additional chest imaging.
CONCLUSION: In both cohorts multiple biopsies were evident in the clinical pathway. Despite clinical workup, 70% of patients in the lung cancer cohort had stage III or IV disease. In the SPN cohort, only 66% were identified as receiving a diagnostic work-up.
Medical Subject Headings
Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Ambulatory Care; Biopsy; Clinical Decision-Making; Cohort Studies; Critical Pathways; Disease Management; Female; Health Care Surveys; Humans; Lung Neoplasms; Male; Middle Aged; Neoplasm Staging; Practice Patterns, Physicians'; Registries; SEER Program; Solitary Pulmonary Nodule; Young Adult