Low Adoption of SC-RT for Lymphoma Amongst Medicare Beneficiaries

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Most older patients with indolent lymphoma were treated with long-course radiation therapy (LC-RT) relatively than the short-course RT (SC-RT) beneficial through the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the outcomes of the phase 3 A-LONG trial published in JAMA Health Forum.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency RT guidelines beneficial using SC-RT to cut back the danger of exposure to SARS-CoV-2. The aim of this study was to guage the adoption of SC-RT amongst Medicare beneficiaries.

The one-center, cross-sectional study evaluated data from 10,447 radiation episodes conducted between 2015 and 2019. All patients were at the very least age 65 and had indolent lymphoma not treated with systemic therapy.

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The vast majority of radiation episodes were with conventional RT at 78%. From 2015 to 2019, using IMRT increased from 17% to 25% (P <.001).

LC-RT was used more commonly than SC-RT, with SC-RT administered to 29% of patients. Using SC-RT was significantly related to age 85 or older (odds ratio [OR], 2.18; 95% CI, 1.94-2.45), hospital-affiliated relatively than free-standing care (OR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.57-1.93), and use of conventional RT relatively than IMRT (OR, 5.18; 95% CI, 4.45-6.02).

The price of SC-RT was lower at $4279 compared with $8484 for LC-RT. IMRT was related to higher costs at $8048 compared with $4121 with conventional RT for SC-RT.

“Use of LC-RT has vital financial implications given higher total spending,” the authors wrote of their report. “Wider adoption of SC-RT may help reduce systemwide costs and optimize personalized RT decision-making.”

Reference

Tringale KR, Hubbeling H, Chino F, et al. Trends in use of and Medicare spending on short-course radiotherapy for lymphomas from 2015 to 2019. JAMA Health Forum. 2022;3:e221815. doi: 10.1001/jamahealthforum.2022.1815

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