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The effect of clinical decision making for initiation of systemic anticancer treatments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in England: a retrospective analysis

The effect of clinical decision making for initiation of systemic anticancer treatments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in England: a retrospective analysis
The effect of clinical decision making for initiation of systemic anticancer treatments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in England: a retrospective analysis

Background: cancer services worldwide had to adapt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to minimise risk to patients and staff. We aimed to assess the national impact of COVID-19 on the prescribing of systemic anticancer treatment in England, immediately after lockdown and after the introduction of new treatments to reduce patient risk. 

Methods: we did a retrospective analysis using data from a central National Health Service England web database mandated for clinicians to register intention to start all new systemic anticancer treatments approved for use in England since 2016. We analysed the monthly number of treatment registrations in April, 2020, after the implementation of societal lockdown on March 23, 2020, and after implementation of treatment options to reduce patient risk such as oral or less immunosuppressive drugs, in May and June, 2020. We compared the number of registrations in April–June, 2020, with the mean number of registrations and SD during the previous 6 months of unaffected cancer care (September, 2019, to February, 2020). We calculated the percentage change and absolute difference in SD units for the number of registrations overall, by tumour type, and by type and line of therapy. 

Findings: in April, 2020, 2969 registrations were recorded, representing 1417 fewer registrations than in the control period (monthly mean 4386; 32% reduction, absolute difference 4·2 SDs, p<0·0001). In May, 2020, total registrations increased to 3950, representing a 10% reduction compared with the control period (absolute difference 1·3 SDs, p<0·0001). In June, 2020, 5022 registrations were recorded, representing a 15% increase compared with the control period (absolute difference 1·9 SDs; p<0·0001]). 

Interpretation: after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a reduction in systemic anticancer treatment initiation in England. However, following introduction of treatment options to reduce patient risk, registrations began to increase in May, 2020, and reached higher numbers than the pre-pandemic mean in June, 2020, when other clinical and societal risk mitigation factors (such as telephone consultations, facemasks and physical distancing) are likely to have contributed. However, outcomes of providing less treatment or delaying treatment initiation, particularly for advanced cancers and neoadjuvant therapies, require continued assessment. 

Funding: none.

Antineoplastic Agents/therapeutic use, COVID-19/epidemiology, Clinical Decision-Making, Humans, Neoplasms/drug therapy, Registries, Retrospective Studies, SARS-CoV-2, State Medicine, Time-to-Treatment
1470-2045
66-73
Clark, James J
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Dwyer, Dominic
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Pinwill, Nina
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Clark, Peter
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Johnson, Peter
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Hackshaw, Allan
fabfe335-1aa6-4634-9d4a-0a1f3fac5b32
Clark, James J
de1efcfe-5de0-445d-b72e-79385a9bb007
Dwyer, Dominic
7d4311b4-8f74-4f6e-9841-1c06bcd12e9e
Pinwill, Nina
f9e5be8e-6601-4596-9540-9c88d18e532f
Clark, Peter
e4cbe61d-74f4-4f16-b1ac-7c6d2ba2fb40
Johnson, Peter
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Hackshaw, Allan
fabfe335-1aa6-4634-9d4a-0a1f3fac5b32

Clark, James J, Dwyer, Dominic, Pinwill, Nina, Clark, Peter, Johnson, Peter and Hackshaw, Allan (2021) The effect of clinical decision making for initiation of systemic anticancer treatments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in England: a retrospective analysis. Lancet Oncology, 22 (1), 66-73. (doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30619-7).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: cancer services worldwide had to adapt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to minimise risk to patients and staff. We aimed to assess the national impact of COVID-19 on the prescribing of systemic anticancer treatment in England, immediately after lockdown and after the introduction of new treatments to reduce patient risk. 

Methods: we did a retrospective analysis using data from a central National Health Service England web database mandated for clinicians to register intention to start all new systemic anticancer treatments approved for use in England since 2016. We analysed the monthly number of treatment registrations in April, 2020, after the implementation of societal lockdown on March 23, 2020, and after implementation of treatment options to reduce patient risk such as oral or less immunosuppressive drugs, in May and June, 2020. We compared the number of registrations in April–June, 2020, with the mean number of registrations and SD during the previous 6 months of unaffected cancer care (September, 2019, to February, 2020). We calculated the percentage change and absolute difference in SD units for the number of registrations overall, by tumour type, and by type and line of therapy. 

Findings: in April, 2020, 2969 registrations were recorded, representing 1417 fewer registrations than in the control period (monthly mean 4386; 32% reduction, absolute difference 4·2 SDs, p<0·0001). In May, 2020, total registrations increased to 3950, representing a 10% reduction compared with the control period (absolute difference 1·3 SDs, p<0·0001). In June, 2020, 5022 registrations were recorded, representing a 15% increase compared with the control period (absolute difference 1·9 SDs; p<0·0001]). 

Interpretation: after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a reduction in systemic anticancer treatment initiation in England. However, following introduction of treatment options to reduce patient risk, registrations began to increase in May, 2020, and reached higher numbers than the pre-pandemic mean in June, 2020, when other clinical and societal risk mitigation factors (such as telephone consultations, facemasks and physical distancing) are likely to have contributed. However, outcomes of providing less treatment or delaying treatment initiation, particularly for advanced cancers and neoadjuvant therapies, require continued assessment. 

Funding: none.

Text
COVID-19 and SACT in England 5th Oct (clean) - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 27 November 2020
Published date: 1 January 2021
Additional Information: Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Authorised Manuscript to follow
Keywords: Antineoplastic Agents/therapeutic use, COVID-19/epidemiology, Clinical Decision-Making, Humans, Neoplasms/drug therapy, Registries, Retrospective Studies, SARS-CoV-2, State Medicine, Time-to-Treatment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 448100
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/448100
ISSN: 1470-2045
PURE UUID: 490a0d84-eb38-4728-94b7-5708dcd01682
ORCID for Peter Johnson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2306-4974

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 Apr 2021 15:58
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 05:20

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Contributors

Author: James J Clark
Author: Dominic Dwyer
Author: Nina Pinwill
Author: Peter Clark
Author: Peter Johnson ORCID iD
Author: Allan Hackshaw

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