Variation in Access to Palliative Radiotherapy in Prostate Cancer: A Population-Based Study in Canada.

As a result of improvements in cancer therapies, patients with metastatic malignancies are living longer, and the role of palliative radiotherapy has become increasingly recognized. However, access to adequate palliative radiotherapy may continue to be a challenge, as is evident from the high proportion of patients dying of prostate cancer who never receive palliative radiotherapy. The main objective of this investigation is to identify and describe the factors associated with the receipt of palliative radiation treatment in a decedent cohort of prostate cancer patients in Ontario.

 Population-based administrative databases from Ontario, Canada, were used to identify prostate cancer decedents, 65 years or older who received androgen deprivation therapy between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2018. Baseline and treatment characteristics were analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression models for association with receipt of radiotherapy in a two-year observation period before death.

We identified 3,788 prostate cancer decedents between 2013 and 2018; among these, 49.9% received radiotherapy in the two years preceding death. There were statistically significant positive associations between receipt of radiotherapy and younger age at diagnosis (odds ratio [OR] 1.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-2.3); higher stage at diagnosis (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1-1.7); receipt of care at a regional cancer center (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3-2.4); and involvement of radiation oncologists (OR 155.1, 95% CI 83.3-288.7) or medical oncologists (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1-1.8). However, there were no associations between receipt of radiotherapy and income, distance to the nearest cancer center, involvement of urologists in cancer care, healthcare administrative region, home-care involvement, or number of hospitalizations in the observation period.

We found the utilization of palliative radiotherapy for prostate cancer patients in Ontario varies depending on age, stage at diagnosis, number of comorbidities, registration at regional cancer centers, and involvement of oncologists. There were no differences detected based on income or distance from a cancer center. The findings of this study represent an important opportunity to facilitate better access to palliative radiotherapy and referrals to multidisciplinary regional cancer centers, to improve the quality of life of this patient population.

Cureus. 2024 Feb 20*** epublish ***

Alborz Jooya, Daniel Qureshi, William J Phillips, Jennifer Leigh, Colleen Webber, Ajay Aggarwal, Peter Tanuseputro, Scott Morgan, Robert Macrae, Michael Ong, Jean-Marc Bourque

Department of Radiation Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network (UHN), Toronto, CAN., Department of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, GBR., Department of Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, CAN., Department of Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, CAN., Department of Oncology, Guy's Cancer Centre, London, GBR., Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, CAN., Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, CAN., Department of Radiation Oncology, Montreal University Health Center, Montreal, CAN.