The following article features coverage from the IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor’s conference coverage.

A study from Italy suggests that patients diagnosed with lung cancer after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic received treatment more quickly than did patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019.

The study was presented at the IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) by Luca Cantini, MD, of AOU Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona in Ancona, Italy.

For this multicenter study, Dr Cantini and colleagues evaluated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lung cancer diagnoses and care in Italy. 


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The study included data from 1637 patients diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019 and 1523 patients diagnosed in 2020. 

The researchers found a 6.9% decrease in lung cancer diagnoses in 2020 compared with 2019, with the greatest decrease seen in May 2020 (-15.8%).

The data also showed that patients diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020 were more likely to have stage IV disease at diagnosis — 72% in 2020 vs 67% in 2019 (P <.01). 

However, the researchers found no significant differences between 2019 and 2020 in time from symptom onset to radiological diagnosis (P =.94), cytohistological diagnosis (P =.92), first oncology appointment (P =.06), or the start of treatment (P =.40).

Furthermore, the time from cytohistological diagnosis to first oncology appointment was longer in 2019 than in 2020 — a median of 24 days and 20 days, respectively (P <.01). 

In addition, the time from cytohistological diagnosis to treatment initiation was longer in 2019, with a median time to treatment of 35 days in 2019 and 31 days in 2020 (P <.01).

There was no significant difference between 2019 and 2020 in time from first oncology appoint to treatment initiation (P =.45) or time from the start of treatment to first radiological evaluation (P =.33).

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor’s coverage of WCLC 2021 by visiting the conference page.

Reference

Cantini L, Mentrasti G, Siena S, et al. Impact of COVID19 outbreak on lung cancer diagnosis and continuum of care: Data from an Italian multicenter study. Paper presented at: IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer; September 8-14, 2021; Abstract OA01.02.