Cost-utility analysis of short- versus long-course palliative radiotherapy in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer.
SourceJournal of the National Cancer Institute, 98, 24, (2006), pp. 1786-94
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of the National Cancer Institute
SubjectONCOL 3: Translational research; UMCN 1.5: Interventional oncology
BACKGROUND: Radiotherapy can effectively palliate the symptoms of poor-prognosis patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. However, controversy remains about whether short-course or more protracted radiotherapy schedules provide better value for the money. We conducted a societal cost-utility analysis of a Dutch multicenter randomized trial with 1-year follow-up that compared the efficacy of radiotherapy schedules consisting of 10 fractions of 3 Gy (10 x 3 Gy) versus two fractions of 8 Gy (2 x 8 Gy) in 297 patients with inoperable stage IIIA/B or stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer. this trial found that the 10 x 3-Gy group had better survival than the 2 x 8-Gy group. METHODS: Lifetime quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were estimated using the EuroQol questionnaire. Lifetime societal costs were estimated using a model estimated based on data from cost questionnaires filled out by a subset of patients (n = 56). Differences were analyzed statistically using two-sided nonparametric bootstrapping. RESULTS: Compared with the 2 x 8-Gy group, the 10 x 3-Gy group accrued statistically significantly more QALYs (20.0 versus 13.2 weeks; difference = 6.8 weeks, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.1 to 13.5 weeks, P = .05), which was mainly due to the statistically significantly better survival (38.1 versus 27.4 weeks; difference = 10.7 weeks, 95% CI = 0.9 to 20.6 weeks, P = .03) without a statistically significant difference with respect to the average valuation of health (P = .27). Total radiotherapy and radiotherapy-related costs were estimated at 5236 dollars for the 10 x 3-Gy group and 2512 dollars for the 2 x 8-Gy group (difference = 2724 dollars, 95% CI = 2501 dollars to 2947 dollars, P<.001). The 39% increase in life expectancy in the 10 x 3-Gy group as compared with the 2 x 8-Gy group was associated with a 30% increase in survival-related nonradiotherapy costs (11,254 dollars versus 8651 dollars, difference 2602 dollars, 95% CI = -357 dollars to 5562 dollars, P = .09). The cost-utility ratio for the 10 x 3-Gy schedule versus the 2 x 8-Gy schedule was estimated at 40,900 dollars per QALY (95% CI = 19,400 dollars to 1,100,000 dollars per QALY). CONCLUSIONS: In these poor-prognosis non-small-cell lung cancer patients, the estimated cost-utility ratio for the palliative 10 x 3-Gy schedule was acceptable according to current economic standards. However, the additional costs for the protracted schedule were justified not by improved quality of life but by longer survival.
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