Pretreatment costs of care and time to initial treatment for patients with cancer of unknown primary

J Comp Eff Res. 2018 Jun;7(6):523-533. doi: 10.2217/cer-2017-0104. Epub 2018 Jun 1.


Aim: Time to treatment and pretreatment costs may be affected by unknown primary tumor site.

Methods: This retrospective study used electronic medical record data from patients in ten US community oncology practices. Eligible patients were ≥18 years, diagnosed with cancer of unknown primary (CUP) or known metastatic solid tumor, and presented between 1 January 2012 and 30 June 2014.

Results: Patients with CUP (n = 294) had a longer interval than non-CUP patients (n = 92) from presentation to treatment initiation (1.18 vs 0.49 months, p < 0.0001), and had higher pretreatment costs (US$27,882 vs US$20,449, p = 0.0075). When analyzed as monthly cost, the difference between groups in log-cost per month was nonsignificant.

Conclusion: Higher pretreatment costs in CUP patients appeared attributable to significantly longer time to initiation of therapy.

Keywords: cancer unknown primary; cost; treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Community Health Services / economics
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Unknown Primary / economics*
  • Neoplasms, Unknown Primary / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time-to-Treatment / economics
  • Time-to-Treatment / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Young Adult