Changes in Initial Treatment for Prostate Cancer Among Medicare Beneficiaries, 1999-2007 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF RADIATION ONCOLOGY BIOLOGY PHYSICS Dinan, M. A., Robinson, T. J., Zagar, T. M., Scales, C. D., Curtis, L. H., Reed, S. D., Lee, W., Schulman, K. A. 2012; 82 (5): E781–E786


In the absence of evidence from large clinical trials, optimal therapy for localized prostate cancer remains unclear; however, treatment patterns continue to change. We examined changes in the management of patients with prostate cancer in the Medicare population.We conducted a retrospective claims-based analysis of the use of radiation therapy, surgery, and androgen deprivation therapy in the 12 months after diagnosis of prostate cancer in a nationally representative 5% sample of Medicare claims. Patients were Medicare beneficiaries 67 years or older with incident prostate cancer diagnosed between 1999 and 2007.There were 20,918 incident cases of prostate cancer between 1999 and 2007. The proportion of patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy decreased from 55% to 36%, and the proportion of patients receiving no active therapy increased from 16% to 23%. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy replaced three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy as the most common method of radiation therapy, accounting for 77% of external beam radiotherapy by 2007. Minimally invasive radical prostatectomy began to replace open surgical approaches, being used in 49% of radical prostatectomies by 2007.Between 2002 and 2007, the use of androgen deprivation therapy decreased, open surgical approaches were largely replaced by minimally invasive radical prostatectomy, and intensity-modulated radiation therapy replaced three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy as the predominant method of radiation therapy in the Medicare population. The aging of the population and the increasing use of newer, higher-cost technologies in the treatment of patients with prostate cancer may have important implications for nationwide health care costs.

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