Background and objectives: The standard treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer (CC) is chemoradiotherapy (CTRT) followed by high-dose-rate brachytherapy (HDRBT). The ideal scenario would be under novel intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) radiation techniques over three-dimensional (3D) radiation therapy. However, radiotherapy (RT) centres in low- and middle-income countries have limited equipment for teletherapy services like HDRBT. This is why the 3D modality is still in use. The objective of this study was to analyse costs in a comparison of 3D versus IMRT versus VMAT based on clinical staging.
Materials and methods: From 02/01/2022 to 05/01/2023 a prospective registry of the costs for oncological management was carried out for patients with locally advanced CC who received CTRT ± HDRBT. This included the administration of radiation with chemotherapy. The cost associated with patient and family transfers and hours in the hospital was also identified. These expenses were used to project the direct and indirect costs of 3D versus IMRT versus VMAT.
Results: The treatment regimens for stage IIIC2, including 3D and novel techniques, are those with the highest costs. The administration of 3D RT for IIIC2 and novel IMRT or VMAT techniques, is $3,881.69, $3,374.76, and $2,862.80, respectively. The indirect cost from stage IIB to IIIC1 in descending order is IMRT, 3D and VMAT, but in IIIC2 the novel technique regimens reduce by up to 33.99% compared to 3D.
Conclusion: In RT centres with an available supply of RT equipment, VMAT should be preferred over IMRT/3D since it reduces costs and toxicity. However, in RT centres where demand exceeds supply in the VMAT technique planning systems, the use of 3D teletherapy over IMRT/VMAT could continue to be used in patients with stage IIB to IIIC1.