Earlier studies on the cost of muscle-invasive bladder cancer treatments are limited to short-term costs of care. We determined the 2- and 5-year costs associated with trimodal therapy (TMT) vs. radical cystectomy (RC).
We performed a retrospective cohort study using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database. Total Medicare costs at 2 and 5 years following RC vs. TMT were compared using inverse probability of treatment-weighted propensity score models.
A total of 2,537 patients aged 66 to 85 years were diagnosed with clinical stage T2-4a muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Total median costs for patients that received no definitive treatment(s) were $73,780 and $88,275 at 2-and 5-years. Costs were significantly higher for TMT than RC at 2-years ($372,839 vs. $191,363, Median Difference $127,815, Hodges-Lehmann Estimate (H-L) 95% Confidence Interval (CI), $112,663-$142,966) and 5-years ($424,570 vs. $253,651, Median Difference $124,466, H-L 95% CI, $105,711-$143,221). TMT had higher outpatient costs than RC (2-years: $318,221 vs. $100,900; 5-years: $367,092 vs. $146,561) with significantly higher costs with radiology, medications, pathology/laboratory, and other professional services. RC had higher inpatient costs than TMT (2-years: $62,240 vs. $33,631, Median Difference $-29,174, H-L 95% CI, $-32,364-$-25,984; 5-years: $75,499 vs. $45,223, Median Difference $-29,843, H-L 95% CI, $-33,905-$-25,781).
Conclusions and relevance
The excess spending associated with trimodal therapy vs. radical cystectomy was largely driven by outpatient expenditures. The relatively high long-term trimodal therapy costs are prime targets for cost containment strategies to optimize future value-based care.