New Research Explores Immuno-oncology Effectiveness for Lung Cancer in Medicare Population 


Findings from HDAI and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Real-world Evidence Study of 20,000 Medicare Patients Shows Shorter Survival Times than Observed in Clinical Trials  

BOSTON, May 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Health Data Analytics Institute (HDAI) – an innovator in healthcare AI solutions – and researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute today announced publication of  findings exploring the effectiveness of immune checkpoint inhibition for the treatment of Medicare patients with lung cancer. The study, titled “Association between first-line immune checkpoint inhibition and survival for Medicare patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer,” is posted in JAMA Open Network.

Immunotherapy is now a cornerstone of treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but its uptake and effectiveness among older patients outside of clinical trials remains poorly understood. In partnership with Dana-Farber, HDAI conducted a large, real-world evidence study of nearly 20,000 Medicare patients, age 66-89, receiving first line treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer with either immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of both. The study looked at risk-adjusted restricted mean survival times from patients treated in 2016-2018, with survival follow-up continuing through March 31, 2020.

The median overall survival was 11.4 months among patients receiving immunotherapy alone, which is about 15 months less than reported in a prior clinical trial. The adjusted restricted mean survival time through 18 months of follow-up was 11-13 months for all treatment groups, including those receiving chemotherapy alone.

“These results, based on the nationwide experience for patients on Medicare, may inform discussions between physicians and patients with respect to expectations for outcomes among older patients with non-small cell lung cancer.”  said Kenneth L. Kehl, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the study’s first author. He noted that “the shorter survival times observed in the Medicare population may reflect the treatment of older patients with higher burdens of frailty and comorbidity.”  Deborah Schrag, MD, MPH, the study’s senior author and Chief of the Division of Population Sciences at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School noted “this information empowers patients and clinicians with realistic expectations and equips them to make informed decisions. Evaluation of Medicare claims data is an expedient approach to measuring real world outcomes.”

“Immunotherapy holds significant promise as a relatively new treatment option,” said Nassib Chamoun, HDAI’s CEO and founder. “That said, it is important to understand how well results from carefully controlled trials generalize to the more vulnerable Medicare population in order to optimize treatment selection and facilitate informed treatment discussions. We hope this research encourages additional conversations about the importance of biomarkers and markers of comorbidity in the evolution of personalized care for patients with lung cancer.”


About Dana-Farber Cancer Institute:

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of the world’s leading centers of cancer research and treatment. Dana-Farber’s mission is to reduce the burden of cancer through scientific inquiry, clinical care, education, community engagement and advocacy. We provide the latest treatments in cancer for adults through Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center and for children through Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Dana-Farber is the only hospital nationwide with a top 6 U.S. News & World Report Best Cancer Hospital ranking in both adult and pediatric care.

As a global leader in oncology, Dana-Farber is dedicated to a unique and equal balance between cancer research and care, translating the results of discovery into new treatments for patients locally and around the world, offering more than 1,100 clinical trials.


About HDAI:

Health Data Analytics Institute (HDAI) is an analytics company with a validated, predictive platform for measuring short- and long-term health risks. The HDAI suite of predictive models are based on research involving more than 20 years of claims data, hundreds of millions of claims records, and collaboration with academic and industry research partners. It has developed a Risk Stratification Index (RSI) score that serves as a composite measure of mortality risk associated with underlying medical conditions.

Progressive health systems, physician groups, and life sciences companies apply HDAI’s solutions to support the development of effective and targeted care plans, the delivery of higher-quality patient care, and the provision of appropriate services for populations. For more information, please visit:

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