Analysis of the drivers of cost of management when patients with brain metastases are treated with upfront radiosurgery

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2019 Jan;176:10-14. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2018.11.011. Epub 2018 Nov 13.


Objectives: We aimed to assess the driving factors for increased cost of brain metastasis management when using upfront stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Patient and methods: 737 patients treated with upfront SRS without whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT). Patients were evaluated for use of craniotomy, length of hospital stay, need for rehabilitation or facility placement, and use of salvage SRS or salvage WBRT. Costs of care of these interventions were estimated based on 2013 Medicare reimbursements. Multiple linear regression was performed to determine factors that predicted for higher cost of treatment per month of life, as well as highest cumulative cost of care for brain metastasis.

Results: Mean cost of brain metastasis management per patient was $42,658, and $4673 per month of life. Upfront SRS represented the greatest contributor of total cost of brain metastasis management over a lifetime (49%), followed by use of any salvage SRS (21%), use of initial surgery (14%), use of salvage surgery (10%), hospitalization (3%) and cost of salvage WBRT (3%). Multiple linear regression identified brain metastasis velocity (BMV) (p < 0.001), use of cavity-directed SRS (<0.001), and CNS symptoms at time of presentation (p = 0.005) as factors that increased costs of care per month of survival. Use of salvage WBRT decreased per month cost of care in patients requiring salvage (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: The cost of upfront SRS is the greatest contributor to cost of brain metastasis management when using upfront SRS. Higher BMV, progressive systemic disease and presence of symptoms are associated with increased cost of care.

Keywords: Brain metastases; Cost of brain metastases; Drivers of cost; Economics; Stereotactic radiosurgery.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis*
  • Cranial Irradiation / economics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicare / economics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiosurgery / economics*
  • Salvage Therapy / economics
  • United States