Radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy is increasingly being used in the curative treatment for un-resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). But, until now, researchers had not looked at the cost-effectiveness of the treatment. In the October issue of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer's journal, the Journal of Thoracic Oncology (JTO), researchers compared the cost-effectiveness of different modified radiotherapy schemes and conventional fractional radiotherapy in the curative treatment of un-resected NSCLC patients.
They conclude that, "accelerated radiotherapy is almost certainly more efficient than current practice and should be recommended as standard radiotherapy for the curative treatment of un-resected NSCLC patients not receiving concurrent chemo-radiotherapy." However, they did not arrive at a conclusion for which model is most cost-effective.
The researchers looked at 10 randomized clinical trials with a population of un-resected NSCLC patients. These trials accrued a total of 2,000 patients between 1989 and 2006.
Most patients were male, aged 60-69 years, had squamous cell carcinoma and stage III disease. They found it was uncertain which modified scheme is most cost-effective and it is unclear whether the study results can be extrapolated to modified radiotherapy combined with concomitant chemotherapy. Therefore, further research comparing the cost-effectiveness of different types of modified radiotherapy and examining the role of chemotherapy might be valuable.
Despite this, the researchers say, "it is encouraged to adopt accelerated radiotherapy for the curative treatment of un-resected NSCLC patients who do not receive concurrent chemo-radiotherapy and examine its role in the context of concurrent chemo-radiotherapy."