Highlights from the study:
•MRI-only workflow for prostate cancer radiotherapy can be cost saving.
•The need for quality assurance during an implementation period limits the short-term economic benefit.
•The major cost savings arrives first when the workflow is well established.
The aim of this study was to analyze a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-only radiotherapy workflow from an economic perspective in terms of reduced time, costs, and systematic uncertainties.
A documented Swedish clinical implementation of MRI-only radiotherapy was used as template for cost assessments compared to a combined computed tomography (CT)/MRI workflow. The costs were taken from official regional price lists from 2021. MRI-only specific quality assurance (QA) was assumed necessary in an initial phase. Treatment plans for target volumes with margins of 5–10 mm were created for ten prostate cancer patients prescribed 78 Gy in 39 fractions. The risk of Grade = 2 rectal toxicity or rectal bleeding was calculated using the QUANTEC recommended NTCP model and costs estimated based on subsequent diagnostic examinations.
The exclusion of the CT-examination and faster target delineation were the main contributors to cost reductions. Additional QA procedures limited the initial cost reduction to 14 EUR/patient. Long-term MRI-only reduced the costs by 209 EUR/patient. Reducing margins resulted in Grade = 2 rectal toxicity or rectal bleeding probability of 9.7 % for 7 mm margin and 6.0 % for 5 mm margin. This margin reduction resulted in an additional cost reduction of 46 EUR/patient.
An MRI-only workflow implementation is associated with reduced costs when the workflow tasks are more time efficient and side effects are reduced as a result of margin reduction. The short-term economic benefits are limited due to extra costs of QA procedures. The economic benefits of MRI-only will make impact first when the workflow is well established, and margin reduction has been included.
Clinical and Translational Radiation Oncology, 2023; 38(January): 183-187
Open Access Published: November 21, 2022