Adherence to adjuvant chemotherapy and post-treatment surveillance in a large community-based cohort of patients with colon cancer

Chung-Yuan Hu, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The objective of this dissertation was to determine the initiation and completion rates of adjuvant chemotherapy, its toxicity and the compliance rates of post-treatment surveillance for elderly patients with colon cancer using the linked Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results – Medicare database. The first study assessed the initiation and completion rate of 5-fluorouracil-based adjuvant chemotherapy and its relationship with patient characteristics. Of the 12,265 patients diagnosed with stage III colon adenocarcinoma in 1991-2005, 64.4% received adjuvant chemotherapy within 3-months after tumor resection and 40% of them completed the treatment. Age, marital status, and comorbidity score were significant predictors for chemotherapy initiation and completion. The second study estimated the incidence rate of toxicity-related endpoints among stage III colon adenocarcinoma patients treated with chemotherapy in 1991-2005. Of the 12,099 patients, 63.9% underwent chemotherapy and had volume depletion disorder (3-month cumulative incidence rate [CIR]=9.1%), agranulocytosis (CIR=3.4%), diarrhea (CIR=2.4%), nausea and vomiting (CIR=2.3%). Cox regression analysis confirmed such association (HR=2.76; 95% CI=2.42-3.15). The risk of ischemic heart diseases was slightly associated with chemotherapy (HR=1.08), but significantly among patients aged <75 with no comorbidity>(HR=1.70). The third study determined the adherence rate of follow-up cares among patients diagnosed with stage I-III colon adenocarcinoma in 2000 - June 2002. We identified 7,348 patients with a median follow-up of 59 months. The adherence rate was 83.9% for office visits, 29.4% for CEA tests, and 74.3% for colonoscopy. Overall, 25.2% met the recommended post-treatment care. Younger age at diagnosis, white race, married, advanced stage, fewer comorbidities, and chemotherapy use were significantly associated with guideline adherence. In conclusions, not all colon cancer patients received chemotherapy. Receiving chemotherapy was associated with increased risk of developing gastrointestinal, hematological and cardiac toxicities. Patients were more likely to comply with the schedule for office visits and colonoscopy but failed in CEA tests.

Subject Area

Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Hu, Chung-Yuan, "Adherence to adjuvant chemotherapy and post-treatment surveillance in a large community-based cohort of patients with colon cancer" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3413737.