Background and purpose: This paper presents a model for cost calculation using the different treatment modalities for oropharyngeal (OPh) cancers used in our hospital. We compared full hospital costs, the associated costs of localregional relapses (LRR) and/or treatment related grade III/IV complications. Materials and methods: Patients with OPh cancer are treated in the Erasmus MC preferably by an organ function preservation protocol. That is, by external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) followed by a brachytherapy (BT) boost, and neck dissection in case of N+ disease (BT-group: 157 patients). If BT is not feasible, resection with postoperative EBRT (S-group [S=Surgery]: 110 patients) or EBRT-alone (EBRT-group: 77 patients) is being pursued. Actuarial localregional control (LRC), disease free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) at 5-years were calculated according to the Kaplan-Meier method. The mean costs per treatment group for diagnosis, primary Tx per se, follow-up, (salvage of) locoregional relapse (LRR), distant metastasis (DM), and/or grade III/IV complications needing clinical admission, were computed. Results: For the BT-, S-, or EBRT treatment groups, LRC rates at 5-years were 85, 82, and 55%, for the DFS, 61, 48, and 43%, and for the OS 65, 52, and 40%, respectively. The mean costs of primary Tx in case of the BT-group is €13,466; for the S-group €24,219, and €12,502 for the EBRT-group. The mean costs of S (the main salvage modality) for a LRR of the BT group or EBRT-group, were €17,861 and €15,887, respectively. The mean costs of clinical management of Grade III/IV complications were €7184 (BT-group), €16,675 (S-group) and €6437 (EBRT-group). Conclusion: The clinical outcome illustrates excellent LRC rates at 5-years for BT (85%), as well as for S (82%). The relatively low 55% LRC rate at 5-years for EBRT probably reflects a negative selection of patients. It is of interest that the total mean costs of patients alive with no evidence of disease is least for the BT-group: €15,101 as opposed to €25,288 (S) and €18,674 (EBRT). Main underlying cause for the high costs with S as opposed to RT alone is the number of associated clinical admission days, not only during primary treatment, but also at relapse. This might be taken into consideration when treating these patients.

Brachytherapy, Costs, External beam radiation therapy, Grade III/IV complications, Oropharyngeal cancer, Surgery, Tumor control
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.radonc.2005.09.007, hdl.handle.net/1765/65943
Radiotherapy & Oncology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Nijdam, W.M, Levendag, P.C, Noever, I, Uyl-de Groot, C.A, & van Agthoven, M. (2005). Cancer in the oropharynx: Cost calculation of different treatment modalities for controlled primaries, relapses and grade III/IV complications. Radiotherapy & Oncology, 77(1), 65–72. doi:10.1016/j.radonc.2005.09.007