Faced with the prospect of having to reset revenue expectations for its entire portfolio of lung cancer targeted agents, a large biotechnology company turned to Health Advances to identify the drivers and barriers to lung cancer treatment and strategies to overcome the low overall treatment rate.
Health Advances was engaged by a client with both marketed drugs and pipeline products for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The client’s internal research identified an unexpectedly low overall treatment rate among patients with advanced-stage NSCLC relative to other cancers, and wanted to better understand the drivers and barriers to treatment in this disease.
Health Advances was tasked with confirming the low treatment rate among these patients, and identifying the drivers and barriers to treatment at each stage in the referral and treatment pathway. Key questions to address included:
Health Advances conducted a comprehensive review of published literature and statistical databases to define the characteristics of the NSCLC population relative to other cancers, and conducted an in-depth research program with primary care physicians, pulmonologists, and oncologists to clarify the referral and treatment paradigm. Patient age, socioeconomic status, performance status, comorbidities, and advocacy/social stigma were analyzed and compared with treatment rates across other cancers. The team determined that demographic variables could not entirely explain the relatively low treatment rate relative to other cancers.
The team constructed a detailed map of the referral and treatment pathway for NSCLC, confirming the clients’ reported treatment rate and identifying the points in the referral sequence at which patients drop out.
Finally, Health Advances prioritized, described, and quantified the major barriers to referral or treatment at each step.