Drivers of variation in the cost of care after chemoradiotherapy for the management of anal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) have not been fully elucidated. We sought to characterize the direct and indirect impact of radiotherapy modality on health care costs among patients with anal SCC.A retrospective cohort study was performed using the 2014 linkage of the SEER-Medicare database. We identified 1,025 patients with anal SCC diagnosed between 2001 and 2011 and treated with chemoradiotherapy. Propensity score matching was used to balance baseline differences between patients treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and those treated with three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT). Differences in total, cancer-attributable, and procedure-specific costs between groups were measured.Radiation-related, patient out-of-pocket, and total costs in the 1-year period after radiotherapy start were all higher for the IMRT group than the 3D-CRT group (median total cost, $35,890 v $27,262, respectively; P < .001). Patients who received IMRT had lower cumulative costs associated with urgent hospitalizations and emergency department visits at both 9 months and 1 year after treatment start compared with a matched cohort of patients who received 3D-CRT (median, $711 v $4,957 at 1 year, respectively; P = .021).Although total costs of care were higher for IMRT compared with 3D-CRT, primarily as a result of higher radiotherapy-specific costs, IMRT was associated with decreased unplanned health care utilization costs starting at 9 months after treatment start. Radiotherapy-centered episodes of care may need to encompass a longer time horizon to capture the full cost savings associated with more advanced radiation modalities.
View details for DOI 10.1200/JOP.2017.024810
View details for PubMedID 29035618