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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2018 Mar 1;100(3):710-718. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2017.10.055. Epub 2017 Nov 8.

Effects of Proton Center Closure on Pediatric Case Volume and Resident Education at an Academic Cancer Center.

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1
Department of Radiation Oncology, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana.
2
Department of Radiation Oncology, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana. Electronic address: sgellswo@iu.edu.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To analyze effects of closure of an academic proton treatment center (PTC) on pediatric case volume, distribution, and resident education.

METHODS AND MATERIALS:

This was a review of 412 consecutive pediatric (age ≤18 years) cases treated at a single institution from 2012 to 2016. Residents' Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education case logs for the same years were also analyzed. Characteristics of the patient population and resident case volumes before and after closure of the PTC are reported.

RESULTS:

Overall pediatric new starts declined by approximately 50%, from 35 to 70 per 6 months in 2012 to 2014 to 22 to 30 per 6 months in 2015 to 2016. Central nervous system (CNS) case volume declined sharply, from 121 patients treated in 2012 to 2015 to 18 patients in 2015 to 2016. In 2012 to 2014 our institution treated 36, 24, and 17 patients for medulloblastoma/intracranial primitive neuroectodermal tumor, ependymoma, and low-grade glioma, respectively, compared with 0, 1, and 1 patient(s) in 2015 to 2016. Forty-nine patients were treated with craniospinal radiation (CSI) from 2012 to 2014, whereas only 2 patients underwent CSI between 2015 and 2016. Hematologic malignancy patient volume and use of total body irradiation remained relatively stable. Patients treated when the PTC was open were significantly younger (9.1 vs 10.7 years, P=.010) and their radiation courses were longer (35.4 vs 20.9 days, P<.0001) than those treated after its closure. Resident case logs showed only a small decline in total pediatric cases, because the percentage of pediatric cases covered by residents increased after PTC closure; however, residents logged fewer CNS cases after PTC closure versus before.

CONCLUSIONS:

Overall pediatric case volume decreased after PTC closure, as did the number of patients treated for potentially curable CNS tumors. Our findings raise important questions regarding resident training in pediatric radiation oncology as these cases become increasingly concentrated at specialized centers.

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