Are We Choosing Wisely in Radiation Oncology Practice–Findings From an Australian Population-Based Study

Wee Loon Ong, Farshad Foroudi, Roger L. Milne, Jeremy L. Millar

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Purpose: To evaluate the adoption of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists Choosing Wisely (CW) radiation oncology recommendations before and after the release of the recommendations. Methods and Materials: The Victorian Radiotherapy Minimum Data Set captures details of radiation therapy delivered in the state of Victoria, Australia. This study included the following 3 groups of patients relevant to 3 of the 5 CW recommendations: women who received a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer at age ≥50 years who had breast radiation therapy (excluding nodal irradiation), patients with cancer who had palliative bone radiation therapy (excluding those with primary bone malignancies), and patients with cancer who had stereotactic radiation therapy to the brain (excluding those with primary malignancies of the central nervous system). The outcomes of interest were use of hypofractionated breast radiation therapy (<25 fractions), use of long-course palliative bone radiation therapy (>10 fractions), and use of adjuvant whole brain radiation therapy within 1 month of stereotactic radiation therapy. The Cochrane-Armitage test was used to evaluate changes in practice over time. Results: Among the 8204 patients who had breast radiation therapy, there was an increase in hypofractionation use from 42% in 2013 to 82% in 2017 (P <.001). The progressive increase in hypofractionation use was observed across institutions. Of the 15,634 courses of palliative bone radiation therapy delivered, only 1279 (8%) were >10 fractions, and this decreased from 10% in 2013 to 5% in 2017 (P <.001). Of the 1049 patients who received stereotactic radiation therapy for brain metastases, only 2% had adjuvant whole brain radiation therapy, and this decreased from 4% in 2013 to 0.7% in 2017 (P =.02). Conclusions: There was a significant change in radiation oncology practice in Australia between 2013 and 2017, in line with the CW recommendations. However, some of the recommendations need to be revised to reflect the rapidly evolving evidence in radiation oncology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1012-1016
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

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