Checkpoint inhibitor accessibility in 15,000+ Indian patients

Madala Ravikrishna, George Abraham, Vijay Maruti Patil, Atanu Bhattacharjee, Vanita Noronha, Nandini Sharrel Menon, Amit Joshi, Kumar Prabhash

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Background: Access to newer therapies is an issue in low and low middle income countries. Hence we decided to audit our practice in the head and neck and thoracic medical oncology unit from 2015to 2019 to study the accessibility of check point inhibitors and factors influencing them.
Methods: All patients who were registered in the head and neck and thoracic medical oncology unit between 2015 -2019 were included in the study. The number of patients who received immunotherapy among them was identified from the prospective database of immunotherapy maintained in the department. We made a list of patients who were eligible for immunotherapy per year and identified how many of them received recommended immunotherapy. The indication for eligibility of immunotherapy was based on published pivotal data and its date of publication of the study online. For nominal and ordinal variable percentage with 95% CI was provided. Factors impacting the accessibility of immunotherapy were identified.
Results: A total of15,674 patients were identified who required immunotherapy; out of them only 444 (2.83%, 95% CI, 2.58.1) received it. The distribution of patients eligible as per cancer disease management group and time period is shown in the Table. Among head and neck cancer patients 4.5% (156 out of 3,435) received immunotherapy versus 2.35% (288 out of 12,239) among thoracic cancer patients (p<0.0001). Among the general category (low socioeconomic), 0.29% (28 out of 9,405) versus 6.6% (416 out of 6,269) among the private category (high socioeconomic) received immunotherapy (p<0.0001). While 3.7% (361 out of 9,737) among males versus 1.39% (83 out of 5,937) females received immunotherapy (p<0.0001). There was also a temporal trend seen in the accessibility of immunotherapy (p<0.0001, Table).
Conclusions: The accessibility of immunotherapy is below 3% in India. Patients with head and neck cancers, those with private category and with male gender had higher access to this therapy. There was also a temporal trend observed suggesting increased accessibility over the years.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9012
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
Event2022 ASCO Annual Meeting - USA, Chicago, United States
Duration: 3 Jun 20227 Jun 2022


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