MRI-only radiotherapy from an economic perspective: Can new techniques in prostate cancer treatment be cost saving?

Emilia Persson, Niklas Svanberg, Jonas Scherman, Christian Jamtheim Gustafsson, Adam Fridhammar, Frida Hjalte, Sven Bäck, Per Nilsson, Adalsteinn Gunnlaugsson, Lars E Olsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to analyze a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-only radiotherapy workflow from an economic perspective in terms of reduced time, costs and systematic uncertainties.

MATERIAL/METHODS: A documented Swedish clinical implementation of MRI-only radiotherapy was used as template for cost assessments compared to a combined computed tomography (CT)/MRI workflow. The costs were taken from official regional price lists from 2021. MRI-only specific quality assurance (QA) was assumed necessary in an initial phase. Treatment plans for target volumes with margins of 5-10 mm were created for ten prostate cancer patients prescribed 78 Gy in 39 fractions. The risk of Grade ≥ 2 rectal toxicity or rectal bleeding was calculated using the QUANTEC recommended NTCP model and costs estimated based on subsequent diagnostic examinations.

RESULTS: The exclusion of the CT-examination and faster target delineation were the main contributors to cost reductions. Additional QA procedures limited the initial cost reduction to 14 EUR/patient. Long-term MRI-only reduced the costs by 209 EUR/patient. Reducing margins resulted in Grade ≥ 2 rectal toxicity or rectal bleeding probability of 9.7 % for 7 mm margin and 6.0 % for 5 mm margin. This margin reduction resulted in an additional cost reduction of 46 EUR/patient.

CONCLUSION: An MRI-only workflow implementation is associated with reduced costs when the workflow tasks are more time efficient and side effects are reduced as a result of margin reduction. The short-term economic benefits are limited due to extra costs of QA procedures. The economic benefits of MRI-only will make impact first when the workflow is well established, and margin reduction has been included.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-187
JournalClinical and Translational Radiation Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


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