Purpose: Neutropenia and subsequent infections are life-threatening treatment-related toxicities of chemotherapy. Among patients with cancer, hospitalizations related to neutropenic complications result in substantial medical costs, morbidity, and mortality. Previous estimates for the cost of cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations are based on older and limited data. This study provides nationally representative estimates of the cost of cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations.
Methods: We examined data from the 2012 National Inpatient Sample and Kids' Inpatient Database. Hospitalizations for cancer-related neutropenia were defined as those with a primary or secondary diagnosis of cancer and a diagnosis of neutropenia or a fever of unknown origin. We examined characteristics of cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations among children (age < 18 years) and adults (age ≥ 18 years). Adjusted predicted margins were used to estimate length of stay and cost per stay.
Results: There were 91,560 and 16,859 cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations among adults and children, respectively. Total cost of cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations was $2.3 billion for adults and $439 million for children. Cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations accounted for 5.2% of all cancer-related hospitalizations and 8.3% of all cancer-related hospitalization costs. For adults, the mean length of stay for cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations was 9.6 days, with a mean hospital cost of $24,770 per stay. For children, the mean length of stay for cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations was 8.5 days, with a mean hospital cost of $26,000 per stay.
Conclusion: We found the costs of cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations to be substantially high. Efforts to prevent and minimize neutropenia-related complications among patients with cancer may decrease hospitalizations and associated costs.