Determining the Economic Value of RT
K. Ranh Voong, MD, MPH, received the Outstanding Article Award in the 2017 ROI Value of RT Publication Awards in partnership with Advances in Radiation Oncology. She was honored for her work as the lead author on the manuscript titled, “Long-term Economic Value of Hypofractionated Prostate Radiation: Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Trial.”
Dr. Voong and her team conducted a study to determine if moderately hypofractionated radiation therapy (HRT) for prostate cancer is more resource efficient and less costly than conventional radiation therapy (CRT). HRT delivers higher daily doses of radiation, which can shorten the treatment course but is associated with a potential increased risk of certain long-term side effects. Since prostate cancer control outcomes are similar between the two treatments based on data from a clinical trial, Dr. Voong wanted to know: if hypofractionation increases long-term toxicity, then how does that affect the overall costs of the treatment?
Dr. Voong showed that when treating prostate cancer, HRT saves more than $7,000 when compared with CRT even when accounting for the costs of evaluating and managing the long-term side effects of the two treatments. The study used data from approximately 200 men who participated in a clinical trial comparing the two treatments and received follow-up care for about six years. Dr. Voong used the 2014 national payment rates for hospital based outpatient care to analyze the costs of the radiation treatment and planning as well as the costs of managing the side effects including drugs, clinic visits, and emergency room visits. Radiation therapy accounted for most of the total cost, while managing the side effects was generally less than 10 percent of the total cost.
Dr. Voong’s research has provided important evidence showing that HRT is more cost efficient than CRT for the treatment of prostate cancer in appropriately selected patients. Given the large number of men diagnosed and treated with external beam radiation for prostate cancer each year, this research provides evidence that using HRT instead of CRT could save the United States billions of dollars annually if HRT becomes the standard of care.
Dr. Voong received a $5,000 grant to continue her research on the value of RT and the open access fee for her article was paid by the ROI. Read the full manuscript in Advances in Radiation Oncology.