VIDEO: Surgical quality measures boost survival in cancer patients




BALTIMORE – Surgeons’ adherence to select quality measures when treating stage IIIA non–small-cell lung cancer patients led to improved patient survival, according to a study presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis identified 10,323 patients who received surgery for Stage IIIA NSCLC in the National Cancer Data Base from 2006 to 2010, and chose four quality measures that should have been met by surgeons: delivery of neoadjuvant multiagent chemotherapy (with or without radiation therapy); performing a lobectomy or greater resection; obtaining more than 10 lymph nodes, and achieving an R0 resection.

The researchers said 12.8% of patients met all four quality measures. Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated improved overall median survival by number of quality measures obtained: 0 quality measures, 12.7 months; 1 quality measure, 25.0 months; 2 quality measures, 31.4 months; 3 quality measures, 36.6 months; and 4 quality measures, 43.5 months.

In an interview, Dr. Mark S. Allen, professor of surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a discussant on the paper at AATS 2016, said the most striking result of the study was that such a low percentage of patients had all four quality measures performed for stage IIIA cancer. He called that finding “disappointing.”

“In general, [the study] shows there is still some work to be done to improve the quality when we operate on stage IIIA patients,” Dr. Allen said. “I’m not sure we do the greatest job of staging them clinically. When they are staged properly they probably do need preoperative chemotherapy, and I’m not sure we do that all the time.” He added that surgeon education about quality outcomes was critical to process improvement and patient outcomes.

Dr. Allen reported no relevant financial disclosures.

On Twitter @richpizzi

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