Assessing guideline impact on referral patterns of post-prostatectomy patients to radiation oncologists

Adjuvant radiotherapy (aRT) can improve biochemical progression-free survival in patients with high-risk features (HRF) after radical prostatectomy (RP). Guidelines from Alberta and the Genitourinary Radiation Oncologists of Canada (GUROC) recommend that patients with HRF be referred to radiation oncologists (RO) based on the findings from three randomized, controlled trials (RCT). Our study examines the impact of these recommendations both pre- (2005) and post- (2012) publication of RCT and GUROC guideline establishment.

Patients undergoing RP during 2005 and 2012 were identified from the provincial cancer registry. Charts were retrospectively reviewed and variables of interest were linked to the registry data. RO referral patterns for each year were determined and variables influencing referral (extracapsular extension, positive margin, seminal vesicle invasion, and post-RP prostate-specific antigen [PSA]) were compared.

Median time to referral was 26.4 months in 2005 compared to 3.7 months 2012 (p<0.001). Among patients referred post-RP, a higher proportion was referred within six months in 2012 (21%) as compared to 2005 (13%) (p=0.003). Among eligible patients in 2012, 30% were referred for discussion of aRT compared to 24% in 2005 (p=0.003). There was a marked drop in patients referred for salvage radiation therapy beyond six months and a rise in the number of patients who are never referred.

Despite an increase in referral rates to RO post-RP from 2005-2012, more than 50% of those patients with HRF did not receive a referral. Initiatives aimed at improving multidisciplinary care and guideline adherence should be undertaken.

Canadian Urological Association journal = Journal de l'Association des urologues du Canada. 0000 Jan [Epub]

Amandeep Taggar, Majed Alghamdi, Derek Tilly, Xanthoula Kostaras, Marc Kerba, Siraj Husain, Geoff Gotto, Michael Sia

Department of Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology, University of Calgary, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, AB, Canada., Guideline Resource Unit, Cancer Control Alberta, Calgary, AB, Canada., Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, University of Calgary, AB, Canada.