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Trends and prescriber variation in the duration of oxaliplatin-containing adjuvant chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer from 2007 to 2019: a population-based retrospective cohort study


Purpose — The International Duration Evaluation of Adjuvant Therapy (IDEA) collaboration in 2017 established 3 months of adjuvant therapy as an alternative to 6 months of therapy for stage III colon cancer. We determined the association between the IDEA publication, changes in clinical practice, and prescriber variation.

Methods — Using linked databases, we identified Ontarians aged ≥ 18 years at diagnosis of stage III colon cancer between 2007-2019 who received oxaliplatin-containing adjuvant therapy. The outcome was duration of therapy, categorized as ≤25%, >25%-≤50%, >50%-≤75%, and >75% of a 6-month course of therapy to approximate treatment durations in the IDEA collaboration. We examined trends in duration over time using an interrupted time series regression model. We analyzed treatment duration after accounting for patient and prescriber characteristics, using multivariable mixed effects logistic regression models to quantify between-prescriber variation.

Results — We included 4,695 patients with stage III colon cancer who received oxaliplatin-containing adjuvant chemotherapy, of whom 77.5% initiated treatment pre-IDEA and 22.5% initiated treatment post-IDEA. Post-IDEA, there was a 16.4% (95% CI 12.5-20.3%) absolute increase in the proportion of patients treated with ≤50% of a maximal course of therapy. This trend was greatest among patients with low-risk tumors. Prescriber variation increased pre-IDEA to 15.6% post-IDEA (variance partition coefficient 5.4% pre-IDEA and 15.6% post-IDEA).

Conclusion — The publication of IDEA was associated with increases in short duration adjuvant therapy and prescriber-level practice variation for stage III colon cancer. Clinicians should be better supported to make consistent recommendations about adjuvant duration under conditions of uncertainty and trade-offs.



Sue-Chue-Lam C, Brezden-Masley C, Sutradhar R, Yu AYX, Baxter NN. Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2023; Aug 7 [Epub ahead of print].

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