Cost Implications of an Evidence-Based Approach to Radiation Treatment After Lumpectomy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer.
INTRODUCTION:Breast cancer treatment costs are rising, and identification of high-value oncology treatment strategies is increasingly needed. We sought to determine the potential cost savings associated with an evidence-based radiation treatment (RT) approach among women with early-stage breast cancer treated in the United States. PATIENTS AND METHODS:Using the National Cancer Database, we identified women with T1-T2 N0 invasive breast cancers treated with lumpectomy during 2011. Adjuvant RT regimens were categorized as conventionally fractionated whole-breast irradiation, hypofractionated whole-breast irradiation, and omission of RT. National RT patterns were determined, and RT costs were estimated using the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. RESULTS:Within the 43,247 patient cohort, 64% (n = 27,697) received conventional RT, 13.3% (n = 5,724) received hypofractionated RT, 1.1% (n = 477) received accelerated partial-breast irradiation, and 21.6% (n = 9,349) received no RT. Among patients who were eligible for shorter RT or omission of RT, 57% underwent treatment with longer, more costly regimens. Estimated RT expenditures of the national cohort approximated $420.2 million during 2011, compared with $256.2 million had women been treated with the least expensive regimens for which they were safely eligible. This demonstrated a potential annual savings of $164.0 million, a 39% reduction in associated treatment costs. CONCLUSION:Among women with early-stage breast cancer after lumpectomy, use of an evidence-based approach illustrates an example of high-value care within oncology. Identification of high-value cancer treatment strategies is critically important to maintaining excellence in cancer care while reducing health care expenditures.
Greenup, RA; Blitzblau, RC; Houck, KL; Sosa, JA; Horton, J; Peppercorn, JM; Taghian, AG; Smith, BL; Hwang, ES
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