Early-stage breast cancer patients comprise a large proportion of patients treated with radiotherapy in Canada . Proponents have suggested that five-fraction hypofractionated radiotherapy for these patients would result in significant cost savings . An assessment of this argument is thus warranted . The FAST-Forward and UK FAST clinical trials each demonstrated that their respective hypofractionated regimens provided equivalent outcomes compared with standard regimens . Thus, a cost-minimization analysis was performed to quantify the potential savings associated with these regimens, which were designated as FAST-Forward 1 (26 Gy/5 fractions/1 week) and FAST-Forward 2 (27 Gy/5 fractions/1 week), and UK FAST 1 (28.5 Gy/5 fractions/5 weeks) and UK FAST 2 (30 Gy/5 fractions/5 weeks). A standard regimen of 42.5 Gy/16 fractions/5 weeks was also included . A comprehensive model of radiotherapy costs for a Canadian cancer centre was created . Time, labour costs, and capital costs were calculated for each regimen and applied using established measures . The total costs per patient for the FAST-Forward trials were $851.77 for FAST-Forward 1 and $874.77 for FAST-Forward 2, providing a total savings of $487.99 and $464.99, respectively . Similarly, the total costs per patient for the FAST trials were $979.75 for UK FAST 1 and $1017.70 for UK FAST 2, providing savings of $360.01 and $322.06, respectively . Following the FAST-Forward 1 regimen results in the greatest reduction of infrastructure and human resources costs at 36.42% compared with the standard . Sensitivity analysis shows a maximum per-patient costs savings ranging from $474.60 to $508.53 for the FAST-Forward 1 trial, which translates to an annual savings of $174,700/year locally and $2.06 million/year province-wide, based on a moderate-to-large size department workload . Compared with a standard radiotherapy regimen, all FAST-Forward and UK FAST hypofractionated regimens provide cost savings for the treatment of early-stage breast cancer . The cost savings associated with each of these equivalent regimens can be directly calculated; activities in this model can easily be adjusted to account for cost variations, allowing other centres to calculate cost impacts specific to their own centres.
Index: breast cancer, cost minimization analysis, hypofractionation, radiation