Dr. Pinheiro on Determinants of Cost in the Treatment of T1-T3 Oropharynx Cancer

A. Daniel Pinheiro, MD

Daniel Pinheiro, MD, physician, Otolaryngology, Mercy Clinic, discusses a study looking at the determinants of cost in the treatment of patients with T1 to T3 oropharynx cancer.

In this analysis, physicians reviewed medical and billing records of patients and investigated the cost of a 6-month episode of care, beginning with a positive biopsy, Pinheiro explains. Following biopsy, researchers examined all medical events that led to financial charges—including radiology, CT scans, and systemic treatments.

Results showed that the tumor stage did not affect cost. However, the stage of cancer, whether stage I, II, III, or IV, affected charges generated but did not affect cost of care. The status of p16, determined as a predictor of outcome, did not affect costs, he adds. In conclusion, patients who underwent surgery without adjuvant treatment had the lowest costs. Costs were equivalent to patients who required adjuvant chemoradiation therapy versus chemoradiation alone.
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