Societal preferences in the treatment of pediatric medulloblastoma: Balancing risk of death and quality of life #BraveMoms
Medulloblastoma is the most prevalent childhood brain cancer. Children with medulloblastoma typically receive a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The survival rate is high but survivors often have sequelae from radiotherapy of the entire developing brain and spinal cord. Ongoing genetic studies have suggested that decreasing the dose of radiation might be possible among children with favorable molecular variants; however, this may result in an increased disease recurrence. As such, there is a need to investigate the nature of trade-offs that individuals are willing to make regarding the treatment of medulloblastoma.
We used best–worst scaling to estimate the importance of attributes affecting the general public’s decision making around the treatment of medulloblastoma. After conducting focus groups, we selected three relevant attributes: (1) the accuracy of the genetic test; (2) the probability of serious adverse effects of the treatment(s); and (3) the survival rate. Using the paired method, we applied a conditional logit model to estimate preferences.
In total, 3,006 respondents (51.3% female) with an average age of 43 years answered the questionnaires. All coefficients were statistically significantly different from zero and the attribute levels of adverse effects and the survival rate had the most impact on individuals’ stated decision making.
Overall, respondents showed high sensitivity to children experiencing disability particularly in the setting of a good prognosis. However, among children with poor prognostic molecular variants, participants showed tolerance about having a child with mild and partial disability compared to a low rate of survival.