Improved survival of glioblastoma patients treated at academic and high-volume facilities: a hospital-based study from the National Cancer Database

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The present study was designed to explore the association between facility type (academic center [AC] vs non-AC), facility volume (high-volume facility [HVF] vs low-volume facility [LVF]), and outcomes of glioblastoma (GBM) treatment.


Based on the National Cancer Database (NCDB), GBM patients were categorized by treatment facility type (non-AC vs AC) and volume [4 categories (G1–G4): < 5.0, 5.0–14.9, 15.0–24.9, and ≥ 25.0, cases/year]. HVF was defined based on the 90th percentile of annual GBM cases (≥ 15.0 cases/year). Outcomes include overall survival (OS), the receipt of surgery and adjuvant therapies, 30-day readmission/mortality, 90-day mortality, and prolonged length of inpatient hospital stay (LOS). Kaplan-Meier methods and accelerated failure time (AFT) models were applied for survival analysis, and multivariable logistic regression models were performed to compare differences in the receipt of treatment and related short-term outcomes by facility type and volume.


A total of 40,256 GBM patients diagnosed between 2004 and 2014 were included. Patients treated at an AC & HVF experienced the longest survival (median OS: 13.3, 11.8, 11.1, and 10.3 months; time ratio [TR]: 1.00 [Ref.], 0.96, 0.92, and 0.89; for AC & HVF, AC & LVF, non-AC & HVF, and non-AC & LVF, respectively), regardless of care transition/treatment referral. Tumor resection, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy were most frequently utilized in AC & HVF. Prolonged LOS, 30-day readmission, and 90-day mortality were decreased by 20%, 22%, and 16% (p ≤ 0.001), respectively, at AC & HVF.


This study provides evidence of superior outcomes when GBM patients are treated at AC and HVF. Standardization of health care across facility type and/or volume and comprehensive neuro-oncological care should be a potential goal in the management of GBM patients.

ABBREVIATIONS AC = academic center; AFT = accelerated failure time; EOR = extent of resection; GBM = glioblastoma; GTR = gross-total resection; HVF = high-volume facility; IQR = interquartile range; LOS = length of inpatient hospital stay; LVF = low-volume facility; NCDB = National Cancer Database; OS = overall survival; PUF = participant user file; STR = subtotal resection; TR = time ratio.

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Contributor Notes

Correspondence Yoshua Esquenazi: The Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) McGovern Medical School and Mischer Neuroscience Institute, Houston, TX. WHEN CITING Published online February 15, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2018.10.JNS182247.

J.J.Z. and Y.E. contributed equally to this work.

Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.


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