OBJECTIVES: The Austrian Lung Cancer Audit (ALCA) is a pilot study to evaluate clinical and organizational factors related to lung cancer care across Austria.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The ALCA is a prospective, observational, noninterventional cohort study conducted in 17 departments in Austria between September 2013 and March 2015. Participating departments were selected based on an annual case load of >50 patients with lung cancer.
RESULTS: The ALCA included 745 patients, representing 50.5% of all newly diagnosed cancer cases during that time period. In 75.8% of patients, diagnosis was based on histology, and in 24.2% on cytology; 83.1% had non-small-cell lung cancer, 16.9% small-cell lung cancer; and only 4.6% had to be classified as not otherwise specified cancers. The median time elapsed between first presentation at hospital and diagnosis was 8 days (interquartile range [IQR]: 4-15; range: 0-132); between diagnosis and start of treatment it was 15 days for chemotherapy (IQR: 9-27; range: 0-83), 21 days (IQR: 10-35; range: 0-69) for radiotherapy, and 24 days (IQR: 11-36; range: 0-138) for surgery, respectively. In 150 patients undergoing surgical treatment, only 3 (2.0%; n = 147, 3 missings) were seen with postoperative restaging indicating unjustified surgery. One-year follow-up data were available for 723 patients, indicating excellent 49.8% survival; however, a wide range of survival between departments (range: 37.8-66.7) was seen.
CONCLUSIONS: The ALCA conducted in high case load departments indicated management of lung cancer in accordance with international guidelines, and overall excellent 1-year survival.