The optimal utilization proportion of external beam radiotherapy in European countries: An ESTRO-HERO analysis

Radiother Oncol. 2015 Jul;116(1):38-44. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2015.04.018. Epub 2015 May 14.


Background and purpose: The absolute number of new cancer patients that will require at least one course of radiotherapy in each country of Europe was estimated.

Material and methods: The incidence and relative frequency of cancer types from the year 2012 European Cancer Observatory estimates were used in combination with the population-based stage at diagnosis from five cancer registries. These data were applied to the decision trees of the evidence-based indications to calculate the Optimal Utilization Proportion (OUP) by tumour site.

Results: In the minimum scenario, the OUP ranged from 47.0% in the Russian Federation to 53.2% in Belgium with no clear geographical pattern of the variability among countries. The impact of stage at diagnosis on the OUP by country was rather limited. Within the 24 countries where data on actual use of radiotherapy were available, a gap between optimal and actual use has been observed in most of the countries.

Conclusions: The actual utilization of radiotherapy is significantly lower than the optimal use predicted from the evidence based estimates in the literature. This discrepancy poses a major challenge for policy makers when planning the resources at the national level to improve the provision in European countries.

Keywords: European countries; Optimal utilization; Planning; Radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*