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Lebentrau, Steffen; Wakileh, Gamal Anton; Schostak, Martin; Schmid, Hans-Peter; Suarez-Ibarrola, Rodrigo; Merseburger, Axel S.; Hutterer, Georg C.; Necknig, Ulrike H.; Rink, Michael; Boegemann, Martin; Kluth, Luis Alex; Pycha, Armin; Burger, Maximilian; Brookman-May, Sabine D.; Bruendl, Johannes and May, Matthias (29. November 2021): Does the Identification of a Minimum Number of Cases Correlate With Better Adherence to International Guidelines Regarding the Treatment of Penile Cancer? Survey Results of the European PROspective Penile Cancer Study (E-PROPS). In: Frontiers in Oncology, Vol. 11, 759362 [PDF, 607kB]


Background: Penile cancer represents a rare malignant disease, whereby a small caseload is associated with the risk of inadequate treatment expertise. Thus, we hypothesized that strict guideline adherence might be considered a potential surrogate for treatment quality. This study investigated the influence of the annual hospital caseload on guideline adherence regarding treatment recommendations for penile cancer.

Methods: In a 2018 survey study, 681 urologists from 45 hospitals in four European countries were queried about six hypothetical case scenarios (CS): local treatment of the primary tumor pTis (CS1) and pT1b (CS2); lymph node surgery inguinal (CS3) and pelvic (CS4); and chemotherapy neoadjuvant (CS5) and adjuvant (CS6). Only the responses from 206 head and senior physicians, as decision makers, were evaluated. The answers were assessed based on the applicable European Association of Urology (EAU) guidelines regarding their correctness. The real hospital caseload was analyzed based on multivariate logistic regression models regarding its effect on guideline adherence.

Results: The median annual hospital caseload was 6 (interquartile range (IQR) 3–9). Recommendations for CS1–6 were correct in 79%, 66%, 39%, 27%, 28%, and 28%, respectively. The probability of a guideline-adherent recommendation increased with each patient treated per year in a clinic for CS1, CS2, CS3, and CS6 by 16%, 7.8%, 7.2%, and 9.5%, respectively (each p < 0.05); CS4 and CS5 were not influenced by caseload. A caseload threshold with a higher guideline adherence for all endpoints could not be perceived. The type of hospital care (academic vs. non-academic) did not affect guideline adherence in any scenario.

Conclusions: Guideline adherence for most treatment recommendations increases with growing annual penile cancer caseload. Thus, the results of our study call for a stronger centralization of diagnosis and treatment strategies regarding penile cancer.

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