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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

Clark, JJ; Dwyer, D; Pinwill, N; Clark, P; Johnson, P; Hackshaw, A; (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. The Lancet Oncology , 22 (1) pp. 66-73. 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30619-7. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: The effect of clinical decision making for initiation of systemic anticancer treatments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in England: a retrospective analysis
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30619-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30619-7
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > CRUK Cancer Trials Centre
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10116935
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