Cost-effectiveness of proton radiotherapy versus photon radiotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients: Exploring the model-based approach

Loeki Aldenhoven*, B Ramaekers, J Degens, C Oberije, J van Loon, A C Dingemans, D De Ruysscher, M Joore

*Corresponding author for this work

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INTRODUCTION: Proton radiotherapy (PT) is a promising but more expensive strategy than photon radiotherapy (XRT) for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). PT is probably not cost-effective for all patients. Therefore, patients can be selected using normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) models with predefined criteria. This study aimed to explore the cost-effectiveness of three treatment strategies for patients with stage III NSCLC: 1. photon radiotherapy for all patients (XRTAll); 2. PT for all patients (PTAll); 3. PT for selected patients (PTIndividualized).

METHODS: A decision-analytical model was constructed to estimate and compare costs and QALYs of all strategies. Three radiation-related toxicities were included: dyspnea, dysphagia and cardiotoxicity. Costs and QALY's were incorporated for grade 2 and ≥ 3 toxicities separately. Incremental Cost-Effectiven Ratios (ICERs) were calculated and compared to a threshold value of €80,000. Additionally, scenario, sensitivity and value of information analyses were performed.

RESULTS: PTAll yielded most QALYs, but was also most expensive. XRTAll was the least effective and least expensive strategy, and the most cost-effective strategy. For thresholds higher than €163,467 per QALY gained, PTIndividualized was cost-effective. When assuming equal minutes per fraction (15 minutes) for PT and XRT, PTIndividualized was considered the most cost-effective strategy (ICER: €76,299).

CONCLUSION: Currently, PT is not cost-effective for all patients, nor for patient selected on the current NTCP models used in the Dutch indication protocol. However, with improved clinical experience, personnel and treatment costs of PT can decrease over time, which potentially leads to PTIndividualized, with optimal patient selection, will becoming a cost-effective strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109417
Pages (from-to)109417
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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