Background: Cancer therapy and outcomes are known to be affected by various demographic features and hospital types. We aimed to identify the characteristics of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) patients associated with receipt of care at academic centers. Method: This is a retrospective study of all patients diagnosed with nodal NHL between 2000 and 2011 in the National Cancer Database (NCDB), who received the diagnosis, and all or part of their initial therapy in the reporting hospital (n=243,436). Characteristics of patients receiving care in academic versus nonacademic centers were compared using the Chi-square test. Results: Approximately 27% received care in academic centers. Patients receiving care in nonacademic centers, compared with academic centers, were more likely to be 60 years (69% versus 58%, p<.0001), White (89% versus 80%, p<.0001) and have lower educational attainment (>12% without high school diploma: 72% versus 69%, p<.0001) and economic status (household income <´49,000: 66% versus 61%, p<0.0001). Patients receiving care in nonacademic centers were less likely to travel 25miles (21% versus 26%, p<0.0001). White patients, compared with non-Whites, were more likely to be 60 years (70% versus <50%, p<0.0001), which probably explains less care in academic centers. Patients 60 years and those with poorer educational attainment and economic status were less likely to receive care in academic centers. Care in academic centers required a longer commute. Elderly patients frequently have inferior outcomes and may benefit from clinical trials with novel agents and expertise at academic centers.
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