Comparative Toxicities and Cost of Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy, Proton Radiation, and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy Among Younger Men With Prostate Cancer

J Clin Oncol. 2018 Jun 20;36(18):1823-1830. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2017.75.5371. Epub 2018 Mar 21.


Purpose To compare the toxicities and cost of proton radiation and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for prostate cancer among men younger than 65 years of age with private insurance. Methods Using the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database, we identified men who received radiation for prostate cancer between 2008 and 2015. Patients undergoing proton therapy and SBRT were propensity score-matched to IMRT patients on the basis of clinical and sociodemographic factors. Proportional hazards models compared the cumulative incidence of urinary, bowel, and erectile dysfunction toxicities by treatment. Cost from a payer's perspective was calculated from claims and adjusted to 2015 dollars. Results A total of 693 proton therapy patients were matched to 3,465 IMRT patients. Proton therapy patients had a lower risk of composite urinary toxicity (33% v 42% at 2 years; P < .001) and erectile dysfunction (21% v 28% at 2 years; P < .001), but a higher risk of bowel toxicity (20% v 15% at 2 years; P = .02). Mean radiation cost was $115,501 for proton therapy patients and $59,012 for IMRT patients ( P < .001). A total of 310 SBRT patients were matched to 3,100 IMRT patients. There were no significant differences in composite urinary, bowel, or erectile dysfunction toxicities between SBRT and IMRT patients ( P > .05), although a higher risk of urinary fistula was noted with SBRT (1% v 0.1% at 2 years; P = .009). Mean radiation cost for SBRT was $49,504 and $57,244 for IMRT ( P < .001). Conclusion Among younger men with prostate cancer, proton radiation was associated with significant reductions in urinary toxicity but increased bowel toxicity at nearly twice the cost of IMRT. SBRT and IMRT were associated with similar toxicity profiles; SBRT was modestly less expensive than IMRT.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cohort Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Large / radiation effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / economics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Proton Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Proton Therapy / economics
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Radiosurgery / adverse effects*
  • Radiosurgery / economics
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / adverse effects*
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / economics
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder / radiation effects