Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology 2014 November 10 [Epub ahead of pring] [Link]

Kao SC, van Zandwijk N, Clarke S, Vardy J, Lumba S, Tognela A, Ng W.



Chemotherapy with cisplatin and pemetrexed has been shown to provide a survival benefit and improvement in quality of life in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). The reported chemotherapy utilization rates range from 18% to 61%. This study aimed to estimate the proportion of MPM patients that should receive chemotherapy based on best available evidence


An optimal chemotherapy utilization model for MPM was constructed using indications for chemotherapy identified from evidence-based MPM treatment guidelines. Epidemiological data on the proportion of patients and their tumor-related attributes were combined with the chemotherapy indications to estimate the optimal chemotherapy utilization rate using decision analysis software (TreeAge Pro 2007). Sensitivity analyses were performed to assess the impact of major variations in the epidemiological data on the optimal chemotherapy utilization rate. The optimal rate was compared with the actual rate reported in the literature.


Chemotherapy is recommended at least once during the disease trajectory in 65% of MPM patients. Sensitivity analyses indicate an optimal utilization rate ranging from 50% to 65%. This optimal rate is relatively comparable to the rates mentioned in contemporary reports from Canada (61% between 2003 and 2005) and Australia (54% between 2007 and 2009) and high when compared with data from the Netherlands (36% during 2005-2006).


An evidence-based model provided an optimal chemotherapy utilization rate of 65% for patients with MPM. Chemotherapy for MPM may be underutilized and barriers are likely multifactorial.