Cost Analysis of Complex Radiation Therapy for Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2016 Jun 1;95(2):654-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2016.02.013. Epub 2016 Feb 6.


Purpose: This cost analysis aimed to prospectively assess differences in costs between TomoTherapy and volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) in patients with head and neck cancer.

Methods and materials: Economic data were gathered from a multicenter study. However, randomization was not possible due to the availability of equipment. Costs were calculated using the microcosting technique from the hospital's perspective (in 2013 euros), and the time horizon was radiation therapy. Only resources that entered the hospital production process and which were likely to vary between the strategies being compared were considered. Acute adverse events observed within the time horizon were also assessed.

Results: The cost analysis was based on a total of 173 patient treatments given between 2010 and 2012 in 14 French cancer centers: 73 patients were treated with TomoTherapy, 92 with VMAT RapidArc, and 8 with VMAT SmartArc. Estimated costs of SmartArc were removed from the comparison due to the small sample size. The mean ± SD cost per patient of the treatment planning phase was €314 (±€214) for TomoTherapy and €511 (±€590) for RapidArc. Mean costs ± SD per patient of irradiation reached €3144 (±€565) for TomoTherapy and €1350 (±€299) for RapidArc. The most sensitive parameter of irradiation was the annual operating time of accelerators. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals for the mean costs of irradiation were €3016 to €3272 for TomoTherapy and €1281 to €1408 for RapidArc. The number of acute adverse events during radiation therapy was not significantly different between strategies.

Conclusions: TomoTherapy appeared to be more expensive than RapidArc mainly due to the higher price of the accelerator, the higher costs of maintenance, and the longer duration of treatment sessions. Because strategies were not significantly different in clinical effect, RapidArc appeared to be the strategy to be recommended at this stage of knowledge.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Costs and Cost Analysis*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / adverse effects
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / economics*