Patients with early stage breast cancer may benefit from accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) with proton therapy versus whole breast irradiation (WBI) in terms of duration of treatment and cost.
This is according to new research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center. In a cost analysis study based on typical patient characteristics, researchers used Medicare reimbursement codes to analyze allowable charges for eight different types of partial and whole breast irradiation therapies and treatment schedules available to early stage breast cancer patients. Taken together, these represent roughly 98% of the treatment options available to these patients.
The cost of proton therapy when used for APBI, introduced to decrease overall treatment time and toxicity, was estimated at $13,833. Comparatively, WBI using IMRT (x-ray) therapy resulted in the highest Medicare charges at $19,599. The average charges across the eight treatment regimens were $12,784; thus, proton costs were similar to that of other types of radiation.
The findings were presented at the inaugural North America meeting of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG) held at MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center. A manuscript detailing the study findings is underway.