IMRT utilization rates similar across sites of service

September 15, 2011

Utilization trends for minimally invasive treatment of prostate cancer appear to be similar across sites of service, a recent study indicates.

Utilization trends for minimally invasive treatment of prostate cancer appear to be similar across sites of service, a recent study indicates.

As technology has improved, utilization of both surgical and radiation therapy for management of prostate cancers has increased. Specifically, the pattern increase for intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) used in the treatment of localized prostate cancer in physicians’ offices and hospital outpatient facilities is similar, researchers say.

First author Deepak A. Kapoor, MD, and colleagues sought to determine therapeutic trends in the management of adenocarcinoma of the prostate and whether site of service influenced those trends. Treatment trends were calculated by indexing the total number of Medicare beneficiaries receiving a service against needle biopsies of the prostate.

The study demonstrated that the percentage of Medicare beneficiaries receiving treatment for prostate cancer has increased in recent years. Although there were increases in both surgery and radiation, the study demonstrated a clear shift toward minimally invasive surgery and newer technologies in radiation.

"Newer treatments, such as IMRT and robotic surgery, allow doctors to be far more precise and administer both surgery and radiation treatments with fewer side effects than older technology, which is why we’ve seen an increase in utilization by doctors in different settings," said Dr. Kapoor, of Integrated Medical Professionals, PLLC, New York. "We want to see our patients get the most comprehensive care possible."

The study shows that the IMRT utilization patterns for Medicare beneficiaries were similar across physicians’ offices and hospital outpatient facilities, increasing from 7.3% to 11.1% and 8.3% to 11.3%, respectively, from 2006 to 2008.

Radiation and surgery treatments experienced 11.5% and 13% increases, respectively, from 2006 to 2008. Researchers say these trends show that patients are choosing safer, less invasive treatment options over older procedures.

Dr. Kapoor disclosed a financial interest and/or other relationship with Access to Integrated Cancer Care. Results from the study were published in the Journal of Urology (2011; 186:860-4).