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1.  Disparities in the early adoption of chemo-immunotherapy for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in the United States 
Since the 1970s, CHOP chemotherapy has been the standard treatment for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). In 2002, randomized trials changed this standard by demonstrating that adding rituximab immunotherapy to CHOP improved survival. However, how these results influenced chemo-immunotherapy adoption in clinical practice remains unclear.
Using the National Cancer Database to compare chemo-immunotherapy use with chemotherapy alone, we collected data on demographics, stage, health insurance, area-level socio-economic status (SES), facility characteristics, and type of treatment for DLBCL patients diagnosed in the United States 2001-2004. Multivariable log binomial models examined associations between race, insurance, and treatment allocation, adjusting for covariates.
Among 38,002 patients with DLBCL, 27% received chemo-immunotherapy and 50% chemotherapy alone. Patients who had localized disease, were diagnosed in 2001, black, uninsured/Medicaid insured, or lower SES were less likely to receive any form of chemotherapy (all p<0.0001). Patients who were diagnosed 2001, black [relative risk (RR) 0.83, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.78-0.89], >60 years (RR 0.94, 95% CI 0.90-0.98), or had localized disease (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.86-0.92) were less likely to receive chemo-immunotherapy. Receiving treatment at high DLBCL volume teaching/research facilities was associated with the greatest likelihood of chemo-immunotherapy (RR 1.69, 95% CI 1.52-1.89).
Black DLBCL patients were less likely to receive chemotherapy or chemo-immunotherapy during this period.
This large national cohort study demonstrates disparities in the diffusion of chemo-immunotherapy for DLBCL. Improving DLBCL outcomes will require efforts to extend access to proven advances in therapy to all segments of the population.
PMCID: PMC4155492  PMID: 22771484
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma; Lymphoma; Healthcare Disparities; Immunotherapy; Rituximab; Chemo-immunotherapy
2.  Acetylated Tubulin (AT) as a Prognostic Marker in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck 
Head and Neck Pathology  2013;8(1):66-72.
Acetylated tubulin (AT) expression has been proposed as a marker for sensitivity to taxane chemotherapy. We wanted to explore AT as a prognostic marker in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). We assessed AT expression in archival tissue from our institutional tissue bank of primary SCCHN specimens. We also examined AT expression on pre-therapy tissues of patients with SCCHN receiving induction chemotherapy with docetaxel, cisplatin and 5FU (TPF IC). AT expression was assessed on archival cases of SCCHN with (N = 63) and without (N = 82) locoregional lymph node metastases (LNM). The predominant tumor site was oral cavity (52 %). Immunohistochemistry staining was based on staining intensity and percentage of tumor cells stained to create a weighted index (WI). A total of nine patients who received TPF IC were evaluable for response by RECIST and also had pre-therapy tissues available. A significant independent correlation between AT and tumor grade (p = 0.001) and primary location (p = 0.008) was noted. There was a trend of higher AT in patients with presence of LNM (p = 0.052) and a trend in improved OS for patients with an AT WI below the median compared to those above the median for patients with no LNM (p = 0.054). For patients treated with induction TPF, we observed an inverse correlation between AT expression and response to TPF IC (p = 0.0071). AT expression is correlated with tumor grade and primary site. There was an observed trend correlating AT with presence nodal metastases. The observed inverse correlation with response to taxane based chemotherapy needs validation in a larger sample size.
PMCID: PMC3950380  PMID: 23881549
Taxane sensitivity; Acetylated tubulin; Head and neck cancer; Induction therapy; Nodal metastases
3.  Factors associated with discharge destination from acute care after acquired brain injury in Ontario, Canada 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:16.
The aim of this paper is to examine factors associated with discharge destination after acquired brain injury in a publicly insured population using the Anderson Behavioral Model as a framework.
We utilized a retrospective cohort design. Inpatient data from provincial acute care records from fiscal years 2003/4 to 2006/7 with a diagnostic code of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and non-traumatic brain injury (nTBI) in Ontario, Canada were obtained for the study. Using multinomial logistic regression models, we examined predisposing, need and enabling factors from inpatient records in relation to major discharge outcomes such as discharge to home, inpatient rehabilitation and other institutionalized care.
Multinomial logistic regression revealed that need factors were strongly correlated with discharge destinations overall. Higher scores on the Charlson Comorbidity Index were associated with discharge to other institutionalized care in the nTBI population. Length of stay and special care days were identified as markers for severity and were both strongly positively correlated with discharge to other institutionalized care and inpatient rehabilitation, compared to discharge home, in both nTBI and TBI populations. Injury by motor vehicle collisions was found to be positively correlated with discharge to inpatient rehabilitation and other institutionalized care for patients with TBI. Controlling for need factors, rural location was associated with discharge to home versus inpatient rehabilitation.
These findings show that need factors (Charlson Comorbidity Index, length of stay, and number of special care days) are most significant in terms of discharge destination. However, there is evidence that other factors such as rural location and access to supplemental insurance (e.g., through motor vehicle insurance) may influence discharge destination outcomes as well. These findings should be considered in creating more equitable access to healthcare services across the continuum of care.
PMCID: PMC3402989  PMID: 22443681
4.  Defining neurotrauma in administrative data using the International Classification of Diseases Tenth Revision 
It is essential to use a definition that is precise and accurate for the surveillance of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and spinal cord injuries (SCI). This paper reviews the International Classification of Diseases 10th revision (ICD-10) definitions used internationally to inform the definition for neurotrauma surveillance using administrative data in Ontario, Canada.
PubMed, Web of Science, Medline and the grey literature were searched for keywords "spinal cord injuries" or "brain injuries" and "international classification of diseases". All papers and reports that used an ICD-10 definition were included. To determine the ICD-10 codes for inclusion consensus across papers and additional evidence were sought to look at the correlation between the condition and brain or spinal injuries.
Twenty-four articles and reports were identified; 15 unique definitions for TBI and 7 for SCI were found. The definitions recommended for use in Ontario by this paper are F07.2, S02.0, S02.1, S02.3, S02.7, S02.8, S02.9, S06, S07.1, T90.2, and T90.5 for traumatic brain injuries and S14.0, S14.1, S24.0, S24.1, S34.1, S34.0, S34.3, T06.0, T06.1 and T91.3 for spinal cord injuries.
Internationally, inconsistent definitions are used to define brain and spinal cord injuries. An abstraction study of data would be an asset in understanding the effects of inclusion and exclusion of codes in the definition. This paper offers a definition of neurotrauma for surveillance in Ontario, but the definition could be applied to other countries that have mandated administrative data collection.
PMCID: PMC3121731  PMID: 21569640

Results 1-4 (4)