University of Nebraska Medical Center

Sabir A. Amin, MD, PhD

Project 1

Radiation Oncology Departmental Database

In this project, Dr. Chi Lin and I focus on building, developing, and maintaining the departmental database for radiation oncology. We are collecting information about patients’ demographics, such as age at diagnosis, race, gender; clinical factors such as stage of cancer, metastatic status, and tumor size; and treatment-related factors such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and immunotherapy. Patients will be recruited to the registry continuously as the registry is an ongoing collection of information from patients treated in our department. The patient’s initial treatment information will be integrated with follow-up data, which can serve as an excellent data source for cancer research. The purpose of the registry is to collect data regarding the health status of patients to be used for (1) quality assurance, (2) to support patient-centered outcomes research, (3) to determine the clinical effectiveness of cancer treatments, (4) monitor treatment patterns and outcomes and enhance cancer control.

The registry will serve as a valuable data source for quality assurance and other research to be used by researchers in the radiation oncology department. After obtaining written consent from patients treated in our department, we retrieve the required information from electronic medical records and patient charts. The databases can be used to conduct retrospective, prospective, and longitudinal studies of comparative effectiveness analysis. It can also be used to identify patients for clinical trial participation. The registry will especially be more important for research areas where evidence from randomized studies is lacking and where population approaches are relevant, as clinical trials participants only represent 3% of the cancer patients in the United States.

Project 2

The role of immunotherapy in the survival of cancer patients when combined with standard-of-care treatments

In this project, Dr. Chi Lin, Dr. Michael Baine, and I work to investigate immunotherapy's association with cancer patients' survival outcomes when combined with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. We use the National Cancer Database (NCDB), a joint project of the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society that consists of information regarding tumor characteristics, patient demographics, and patient survival for approximately 70% of the United States population. The NCDB contains information not included in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, including details regarding the use of systemic therapy.

We have two aims

Aim 1: To evaluate the efficacy of immunotherapy in real-world settings outside the clinical trials, as the improvement in patient outcomes with immunotherapy seen in the clinical trial setting is difficult to generalize to other patients. Clinical trials are based on a small number of patients treated in prestigious medical centers, with optimal support services and follow-up.

Aim 2: To investigate if immunotherapy is effective in early-stage or non-metastatic cancer patients, as the approval of immunotherapy in most malignancies is limited to the metastatic setting, the only setting in which it has been found to improve overall survival and progression-free survival.