TUESDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Although single-fraction radiotherapy has been shown to be effective for pain relief of bone metastases in patients with prostate cancer, only about 3 percent of elderly patients receive single-fraction compared with multiple-fraction radiotherapy, according to a research letter published in the Oct. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Justin E. Bekelman, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues analyzed data on radiotherapy and costs from 3,050 patients with prostate cancer and bone metastases aged 65 years or older.
The researchers found that only 3.3 percent of patients had single-fraction radiotherapy. Median survival was significantly lower in the single-fraction group than in the multiple-fraction group (5.0 versus 11.9 months). Mean 45-day radiotherapy-related costs were significantly lower for the single-fraction group ($1,873 versus $4,967). In contrast, mean 45-day total health care costs were non-significantly higher for the single-fraction group ($13,112 versus $11,702).
"Despite evidence demonstrating comparable pain relief for single-fraction treatment, only 3.3 percent of Medicare beneficiaries with bone metastases from prostate cancer received single-fraction treatment," Bekelman and colleagues conclude.