Cost effectiveness of prostate cancer radiotherapy
The use of radiotherapy in the treatment of prostate cancer has evolved from treatments utilizing large fields with hand placed blocks to radiotherapy treatments given with a linear accelerator moving around the patient on a robotic arm. These technologic developments have allowed radiation dose escalations resulting in improvements in disease and patient reported outcomes with longer biochemical diseasefree survival (DFS) as well as improved quality of life. Increased costs have accompanied these technologic improvements with some private payers questioning the increased cost of the newer treatments and in some instances refusing to pay for some treatment modalities such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) or proton beam therapy (PBT). Cost-effectiveness analysis have been used in an attempt to illustrate these new treatments were cost-effective when compared to the older treatments. Cost-effectiveness analyses will need to be adapted in the current health care environment to provide an assessment of value as many payers, including medicare, move to a value-based reimbursement system.