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Multilevel Factors Associated With More Intensive Use of Radioactive Iodine for Low-Risk Thyroid Cancer.
Wallner LP, Banerjee M, Reyes-Gastelum D, Hamilton AS, Ward KC, Lubitz C, Hawley ST, Haymart MR. Multilevel Factors Associated With More Intensive Use of Radioactive Iodine for Low-Risk Thyroid Cancer. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. 2021 May 13; 106(6):e2402-e2412.
The use of radioactive iodine (RAI) for low-risk thyroid cancer is common, and variation in its use exists, despite the lack of benefit for low-risk disease and potential harms and costs.
To simultaneously assess patient- and physician-level factors associated with patient-reported receipt of RAI for low-risk thyroid cancer.
This population-based survey study of patients with newly diagnosed differentiated thyroid cancer identified via the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registries of Georgia and Los Angeles County included 989 patients with low-risk thyroid cancer, linked to 345 of their treating general surgeons, otolaryngologists, and endocrinologists. We assessed the association of physician- and patient-level factors with patient-reported receipt of RAI for low-risk thyroid cancer.
Among this sample, 48% of patients reported receiving RAI, and 23% of their physicians reported they would use RAI for low-risk thyroid cancer. Patients were more likely to report receiving RAI if they were treated by a physician who reported they would use RAI for low-risk thyroid cancer compared with those whose physician reported they would not use RAI (adjusted OR: 1.84; 95% CI, 1.29-2.61). The odds of patients reporting they received RAI was 55% lower among patients whose physicians reported they saw a higher volume of patients with thyroid cancer (40+ vs 0-20) (adjusted OR: 0.45; 0.30-0.67).
Physician perspectives and attitudes about using RAI, as well as patient volume, influence RAI use for low-risk thyroid cancer. Efforts to reduce overuse of RAI in low-risk thyroid cancer should include interventions targeted toward physicians, in addition to patients.