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J Oncol Pract. 2012 May;8(3 Suppl):e31s-7s. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2012.000548.

Cost-effectiveness analysis of stereotactic body radiation therapy versus intensity-modulated radiation therapy: an emerging initial radiation treatment option for organ-confined prostate cancer.

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  • 1University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX; and Northern Michigan Health, Petoskey, MI.



The purpose of this study is to compare the cost-effectiveness of two external beam radiation therapy techniques for treatment of low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer: stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).


A Markov decision analysis model with probabilistic sensitivity analysis was designed with the various disease states of a 70-year-old patient with organ-confined prostate cancer to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of two external beam radiation treatment options.


The Monte Carlo simulation revealed that the mean cost and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) for SBRT and IMRT were $22,152 and 7.9 years and $35,431 and 7.9 years, respectively. The sensitivity analysis revealed that if the SBRT cohort experienced a decrease in quality of life of 4% or a decrease in efficacy of 6%, then SBRT would no longer dominate IMRT in cost-effectiveness. In fact, with these relaxed assumptions for SBRT, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of IMRT met the societal willingness to pay threshold of $50,000 per QALY.


Compared with IMRT, SBRT for low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer has great potential cost savings for our health care system payers and may improve access to radiation, increase patient convenience, and boost quality of life for patients. Our model suggests that the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of IMRT compared with SBRT is highly sensitive to quality-of-life outcomes, which should be adequately and comparably measured in current and future prostate SBRT studies.

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