Predictors of chemoradiotherapy versus single modality therapy and overall survival among patients with unresectable, stage III non-small cell lung cancer

PLOS One, 2020


Concurrent chemoradiotherapy (cCRT) was the standard of care for patients with unresectable stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) prior to the PACIFIC trial, however, patients also received single modality therapy. This study identified predictors of therapy and differences in overall survival (OS).


This retrospective study included stage III NSCLC patients aged ≥65 years, with ≥1 claim for systemic therapy (ST) or radiotherapy (RT) within 90 days of diagnosis, identified in SEER-Medicare data (2009-2014). Patients who had overlapping claims for chemotherapy and RT ≤90 days from start of therapy were classified as having received cCRT. Patients who received sequential CRT or surgical resection of tumor were excluded. Predictors of cCRT were analyzed using logistic regression. OS was compared between therapies using adjusted Cox proportional hazards models.


Of 3,799 patients identified, 21.7% received ST; 26.3% received RT; and 52.0% received cCRT. cCRT patients tended to be younger (p <0.001), White (p = 0.002), and have a good predicted performance status (p<0.001). Patients who saw all three specialist types (medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, and surgeon) had increased odds of receiving cCRT (p<0.001). ST and RT patients had higher mortality risk versus cCRT patients (hazard ratio [95% CI]: ST: 1.38 [1.26-1.51]; RT: 1.75 [1.61, 1.91]); p<0.001).


Several factors contributed to treatment selection, including patient age and health status, and whether the patient received multidisciplinary care. Given the survival benefit of receiving cCRT over single-modality therapy, physicians should discuss treatment within a multidisciplinary team, and be encouraged to pursue cCRT for patients with unresectable stage III NSCLC.

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Bobbili P, Ryan K, DerSarkissian M, Dua A, Yee C, Duh MS, Gomez JE