2019 ASCO Annual Meeting!
Session: Health Services Research, Clinical Informatics, and Quality of Care
Type: Poster Session
Time: Saturday June 1, 1:15 PM to 4:15 PM
Location: Hall A
Online advertising and marketing claims by providers of proton beam therapy: Are they guideline based?
Quality of Care/Quality Improvement
Health Services Research, Clinical Informatics, and Quality of Care
2019 ASCO Annual Meeting
Poster Board Number:
Poster Session (Board #290)
J Clin Oncol 37, 2019 (suppl; abstr 6599)
Author(s): Mark Thomas Corkum, Wei Liu, David A. Palma, Robert Edward Dinniwell, Glenn Bauman, Andrew Warner, Mark Vikas Mishra, Alexander V. Louie; Department of Radiation Oncology, London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON, Canada; London Regional Cancer Program, London, ON, Canada; London Regional Cancer Program, Department of Radiation Oncology, London, ON, Canada; Western University, London Regional Cancer Program, London, ON, Canada; Department of Radiation Oncology, London Regional Cancer Program, London, ON, Canada; University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; Department of Radiation Oncology, Odette Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
Background: Proton beam therapy (PBT) is a radiotherapy platform that purports an improved therapeutic ratio by way of a rapid radiation dose fall-off. Despite this technology being hindered by significant capital and patient costs, the number of centres offering PBT is increasing exponentially. Consensus guidelines support PBT use in a limited number of disease sites or on clinical trials. As patients frequently obtain information about PBT from hospital or cancer centre websites, the purpose of this study was to evaluate direct to consumer advertising (DTCA) content and claims made by proton therapy centre (PTC) websites. Methods: English PTC websites worldwide were identified using the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group website. Data abstraction of website content was performed independently by two investigators. Eight international guidelines were consulted to determine indications for PBT. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify website characteristics that were associated with a higher likelihood to make non-evidence-based claims of PBT such as improved disease control or cure. Results: From the 48 PTCs with 46 English websites, most (58%) did not provide any references for claims made regarding PBT. These included: improved disease control or cure (61%), fewer side effects (85%), or was the standard of care (13%). Prostate (87%), head and neck (87%) and pediatric (83%) cancers were the most frequently listed PBT-indicated disease sites, consistent with international guidelines. However, pancreatobiliary (52%), breast (50%) and esophageal (44%) cancers were frequently advertised despite not being endorsed in any consensus guidelines. On multivariate analysis, an increasing number of listed disease sites and claims of being a regional PTC leader were associated with indicating that PBT offers greater disease control or cure. The availability of PBT through a clinical trial was mentioned on 57% of websites. Conclusions: PTC websites often contain information and DTCA claims inconsistent with international consensus guidelines. As online marketing information may have significant influence on patient decision-making, alignment of such information with accepted guidelines and consensus opinion should be adopted by PBT providers.