Original Study|Articles in Press

Factors Associated with Receipt of Molecular Testing and Its Impact On Time To Initial Systemic Therapy in Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Published:March 18, 2023DOI:



      Despite recommendations for molecular testing irrespective of patient characteristics, differences exist in receipt of molecular testing for oncogenic drivers amongst metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (mNSCLC) patients. Exploration into these differences and their effects on treatment is needed to identify opportunities for improvement.


      We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adult patients diagnosed with mNSCLC between 2011 and 2018 using PCORnet's Rapid Cycle Research Project dataset (n=3,600). Log-binomial, Cox proportional hazards (PH), and time-varying Cox regression models were used to ascertain whether molecular testing was received, and time from diagnosis to molecular testing and/or initial systemic treatment in the context of patient age, sex, race/ethnicity, and multiple comorbidities status.


      The majority of patients in this cohort were ≤ 65 years of age (median [25th, 75th]: 64 [57, 71]), male (54.3%), non-Hispanic white individuals (81.6%), with >2 comorbidities in addition to mNSCLC (54.1%). About half the cohort received molecular testing (49.9%). Patients who received molecular testing had a 59% higher probability of initial systemic treatment than patients who were yet to receive testing. Multiple comorbidity status was positively associated with receipt of molecular testing (RR, 1.27; 95% CI 1.08, 1.49).


      Receipt of molecular testing in academic centers was associated with earlier initiation of systemic treatment. This finding underscores the need to increase molecular testing rates amongst mNSCLC patients during a clinically relevant period. Further studies to validate these findings in community centers are warranted.


      Molecular testing rates remain low among metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (mNSCLC) patients. This may relate to concern that testing could delay systemic treatment initiation. We studied a PCORnet multi-site retrospective cohort, and show that molecular testing is associated with earlier systematic treatment initiation. Strategies increasing molecular testing in mNSCLC should be employed without fear of treatment delay.


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