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A population-based study of the resource utilization and costs of managing resectable non-small cell lung cancer

Mahar AL, Coburn NG, Johnson AP. Lung Cancer. 2014; 86(2):281-7. Epub 2014 Sep 20.

Objectives — Surgical resection and adjuvant chemotherapy have become standard of care for treating resectable early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The purpose was to describe and compare the overall and regional resource utilization and costs of resected NSCLC treated with and without adjuvant chemotherapy.

Materials and Methods — A population-based retrospective cohort study of resected NSCLC patients, diagnosed between 2004 and 2006 (representing the cohort immediately affected by the change in clinical practice) was performed using administrative data. Patients were followed for four years from the date of surgery. The healthcare system perspective was used, and cost estimates (2012 US$) were derived from administrative data and the literature.

Results — 3354 patients were included. The average cost per patient treated with surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy was $37,860.88 and was significantly higher than the average cost per patient treated with surgery alone $32,221.45 (p<0.0001). Among regions, the costs of patients treated with surgery and chemotherapy ($32,672–$45,453) and the costs of those treated with surgery alone ($28,679–$36,845) varied significantly (p<0.0001). Rates of chemotherapy, the proportion of patients who received any imaging scans, hospitalizations, specialist visits, emergency room visits, mean number of imaging scans, general physician visits, and blood transfusions all varied significantly among geographic regions.

Conclusions — This population-based study demonstrates an average cost per patient similar to that shown in randomized controlled trials; however, costs for either treatment approach varied by geographic region. Understanding the regional variation in costs and resource utilization is important with respect to delivering optimal treatment in a cost-effective strategy.

Keywords: Lung cancer Health care costs