Article Abstract

National practice trends for the surgical management of lung cancer in the CMS population: an atlas of care

Authors: Joseph D. Phillips, Ian C. Bostock, Rian M. Hasson, Philip P. Goodney, David C. Goodman, Timothy M. Millington, David J. Finley


Background: Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) has been established as a safe and effective alternative to an open approach for the treatment of early-stage lung cancer. Despite this, differences in utilization across the nation are present. The aims of this study were to: (I) characterize trends in the use of open surgery and VATS for the management of lung cancer across the United States, and (II) describe if particular regions of the country utilize minimally invasive surgery more frequently.
Methods: We studied all Medicare beneficiaries from the ages of 65 to 99 years with full Part A and B coverage and no HMO coverage for the years of 2006 and 2014 (the most recent year available at the time of this analysis). Beneficiaries with a diagnosis of lung cancer (ICD-9 codes: 162.0 162.2 162.3 162.4 162.5 162.8 162.9) were selected. Rates of thoracoscopic surgery (CPT codes: 32663, 32666, 32667, 32668, 32669, 32670, 32671) and open lung resections (32505, 32506, 32507, 32608, 32440, 32442, 32445, 32480, 32482, 32484, 32486, 32488) were calculated by year and region. Rates in 2006 and 2014 with descriptive statistics and a univariate analysis were performed using Student’s t-test and chi-square, as appropriate. A two-sided P value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: A total of 24,368,333 and 23,921,059 beneficiaries for the years of 2006 and 2014 were analyzed. A diagnosis of lung cancer was detected in claims of 167,418 patients (0.7%) in 2006 and 167,506 patients in 2014 (0.7%), which was not significantly different (P=0.7). Among these lung cancer patients, a surgical intervention was performed in 17,249 patients (10.3%) during 2006 and 18,603 patients (11.1%) in 2014 (P=0.01). Among those undergoing surgery, a VATS approach was performed in 2,512 patients (15%) during 2006 and 9,578 patients (54%) during 2014 (P=0.001). In 2006, California, New York, and New Jersey performed the most VATS procedures, in comparison to 2014, when New York, Florida, and California performed the highest number of VATS procedures.
Conclusions: While the prevalence of lung cancer in the United States was unchanged between 2006 and 2014, the use of VATS techniques increased five-fold. Further studies to better understand the adoption or availability of new surgical techniques in lung cancer populations across geographic regions and patient populations are necessary.