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Semin Radiat Oncol. 2014 Jan;24(1):25-34. doi: 10.1016/j.semradonc.2013.08.003.

Comparative effectiveness research in radiation oncology: assessing technology.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA; Department of Radiation Oncology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. Electronic address:


Technological advances are a major contributor to rising costs in health care, including radiation oncology. Despite the large amount spent on new technologies, technology assessment remains inadequate, leading to potentially costly and unnecessary use of new technologies. Comparative effectiveness studies have an important role to play in evaluating the benefits and harms of new technologies compared with older technologies and have been identified as a priority area for research by the Radiation Oncology Institute. This article outlines the elements of effective technology assessment, identifies key challenges to comparative effectiveness studies of new radiation oncology technologies, and reviews several examples of comparative effectiveness studies in radiation oncology, including studies on conformal radiation, IMRT, proton therapy, and other concurrent new technologies.

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