Incidence and costs of treatment-related complications among patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

Kathleen Lang, Matthew Sussman, Mark Friedman, Jun Su, Hong J. Kan, David Mauro, Eskinder Tafesse, Joseph Menzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the incidence and costs of complications due to radiotherapy alone vs platinum-based chemoradiotherapy among patients diagnosed as having advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (ASCCHN) from a payer perspective. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: Data from the PharMetrics Patient-Centric Database from June 2000 through June 2006. Patients: The study included patients with ASCCHN and an indication of a secondary malignant neoplasm (both identified based on International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification, diagnosis codes), 124 of whom were treated with radiotherapy alone and 77 of whom were treated with chemoradiotherapy (including 53 with cisplatin plus radiotherapy, 26 with carboplatin plus radiotherapy, and 2 with cisplatin and carboplatin plus radiotherapy). The patients were assigned to 1 of 2 cohorts based on treatment type-radiotherapy only and platinum-based chemoradiotherapy- and were followed up for 6 months. Main Outcome Measures: Incidence and costs of treatment-related complications associated with chemotherapy in ASCCHN. Results: We found significantly (P<.001) higher rates of treatment-related complications among patients receiving chemoradiotherapy (86%) than among patients receiving only radiotherapy (51%). The mean perpatient costs associated with treatment-related complications were approximately $10 000 higher among patients who received chemoradiotherapy than among those treated with radiotherapy alone (P<.001). These costs represented 17% of the total costs during follow-up for patients who received chemoradiotherapy and 11% of costs for those who received radiotherapy. The most expensive complications were dehydration and/or electrolyte imbalance and oral complications. Conclusions: Our study results suggest that the attributable incidence and costs of treatment-related complications associated with chemotherapy in ASCCHN are substantial. The emergence of safer treatments may have the advantage of alleviating this cost burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-588
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Volume135
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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