Effectiveness of third-generation chemotherapy on the survival of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer in Norway: a national study

von Plessen, C.; Strand, T.-E.; Wentzel-Larsen, T.; Omenaas, E.; Wilking, N.; Sundstrøm, S.; Sorenson, S.
October 2008
Thorax;Oct2008, Vol. 63 Issue 10, p866
Academic Journal
Background: To investigate whether the introduction of modern third-generation chemotherapy was associated with survival benefits in a national population of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (ANSCLC) and to explore geographical and temporary variations in the utilisation of chemotherapy. Methods: All patients with ANSCLC in the Cancer Registry of Norway during 1994-2005 were included. Using sales of vinorelbine as an indicator for chemotherapy, annual county utilisation rates were calculated. Survival before and after the general introduction of vinorelbine and associations between survival and variations in utilisation in counties were investigated. In a subgroup, the predictors of having received chemotherapy were explored. Results: Of 24 875 registered patients with lung cancer, 13757 had ANSCLC. The annual utilisation of the indicator drug in Norway increased from 3.7 to 184.2 g (1998-2005). Median survival increased from 149 to 176 days (p<0.001). The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for a diagnosis after the introduction was 0.93 (95% Cl 0.88 to 0.99). County utilisation rates of vinorelbine (increments of 100 mg/1000 inhabitants( were inversely associated with the risk of death (HR 0.84, 95% Cl 0.73 to 0.98). County of residence predicted chemotherapy utilisation with odds ratios in the range 0.13 (95% Cl 0.1 to 0.19) to 1.04 (95% Cl 0.64 to 1.69), a county with traditionally high utilisation as reference. Conclusion: Utilisation of third-generation chemotherapy was associated with slightly increased survival of patients with ANSCLC. Geographical and temporal differences in utilisation indicate variable quality of delivered care.


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