Cancer Center Volume and Type Impact Stage-Specific Utilization of Neoadjuvant Therapy in Rectal Cancer

Emily F Midura, Andrew D. Jung, Meghan C. Daly, Dennis J. Hanseman, Bradley R. Davis, Shimul A. Shah, Ian M. Paquette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Neoadjuvant chemoradiation reduces local recurrence in locally advanced rectal cancer, and adherence to national and societal recommendations remains unknown. Objective: To determine variability in guideline adherence in rectal cancer treatment and investigate whether hospital volume correlated with variability seen. Design: We performed a retrospective analysis using the National Cancer Database rectal cancer participant user files from 2005 to 2010. Stage-specific predictors of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radiation use were determined, and variation in use across hospitals analyzed. Hospitals were ranked based on likelihood of preoperative therapy use by stage, and observed-to-expected ratios for neoadjuvant therapy use calculated. Hospital outliers were identified, and their center characteristics compared. Results: A total of 23,488 patients were identified at 1183 hospitals. There was substantial variability in the use of neoadjuvant chemoradiation across hospitals. Patients managed outside clinical guidelines for both stage 1 and stage 3 disease tended to receive treatment at lower-volume, community cancer centers. Conclusions: There is substantial variability in adherence to national guidelines in the use of neoadjuvant chemoradiation for rectal cancer across all stages. Both hospital volume and center type are associated with over-treatment of early-stage tumors and under-treatment of more invasive tumors. These findings identify a clear need for national quality improvement efforts in the treatment of rectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1906-1912
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Hospitals low-volume
  • Neoadjuvant therapy
  • Rectal neoplasms
  • Utilization

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Journal Article


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