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Publication Abstract

Authors: Guadagnolo BA, Liao KP, Giordano SH, Elting LS, Buchholz TA, Shih YC

Title: Increasing use of advanced radiation therapy technologies in the last 30 days of life among patients dying as a result of cancer in the United States.

Journal: J Oncol Pract 10(4):e269-76

Date: 2014 Jul

Abstract: PURPOSE: We sought to analyze trends in radiation therapy (RT) technology use and costs in the last 30 days of life for patients dying as a result of cancer. METHODS: We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) -Medicare and Texas Cancer Registry-Medicare databases to analyze claims data for 13,488 patients dying as a result of lung, breast, prostate, colorectal, melanoma, and pancreas cancers from 2000 to 2009. Logistic regression modeling was used to conduct adjusted analyses regarding influence of demographic, clinical, and health services variables on receipt of types of RT. Costs were calculated in 2009 US dollars. RESULTS: The proportion of patients treated with two-dimensional RT decreased from 74.9% of those receiving RT in the last 30 days of life in 2000 to 32.7% in 2009 (P < .001). Those receiving three-dimensional RT increased from 27.2% in 2000 to 58.5% in 2009 (P < .001). The proportion of patients treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy in the last 30 days of life increased from 0% in 2000 to 6.2% in 2009 (P < .001), and those undergoing stereotactic radiosurgery increased from 0% in 2000 to 5.0% in 2009 (P < .001). The adjusted mean costs of per-patient RT services delivered in the last 30 days of life were higher in the years 2007 to 2009. CONCLUSION: Among patients receiving RT in the last month of life, there was a shift away from the simplest technique toward more advanced RT technologies. Studies are needed to ascertain whether these technology shifts improve palliative outcomes and quality of life for patients dying as a result of cancer who receive RT services.

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013