Authors: Kariburyo F, Wang Y, Cheng IN, Wang L, Morgenstern D, Asner I, Xie L, Meadows E, Danella J.

Objective: This study explored short-term healthcare costs of men managed with observation strategies (OBS) vs immediate treatment (IMT) for favorable risk prostate cancer (PCa) from the Geisinger Health System, a single integrated health system in Pennsylvania, as evidence from the community setting is limited.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using electronic health records from men aged ≥40 years diagnosed with favorable risk PCa (T1 or 2, PSA ≤15 ng/mL, Gleason ≤7 [3 + 4]) between January 2005 and October 2013. Prostate-specific healthcare costs were compared between the OBS and IMT cohorts in men with ≥3 years of follow-up and available linked claims data. Sub-group analyses focused on those men with low-risk PCa (T1-2a, PSA ≤10 ng/mL, Gleason ≤6). Sensitivity analysis stratified the study sample in three cohorts: OBS, switched from OBS to definitive treatment (OBS switch), and IMT.

Results: A total of 352 patients were included (OBS = 70 and IMT = 282). Compared with IMT, OBS resulted in significantly lower cumulative PCa-related healthcare costs for the first 3 years ($15,785 vs $23,177; p-value <.001). The main cost drivers were outpatient procedures. The OBS cohort had the lowest incremental PCa-related healthcare costs in the first 3 years (OBS: $5,011 vs OBS switch: $26,040, net cost savings = $21,029, p < .001; OBS: $5,011 vs IMT: $24,064, net cost savings = $19,053, p < .001).

Conclusions: In favorable risk PCa, half of the patients who initially chose OBS eventually underwent treatment after their PCa diagnosis. As expected, OBS was associated with reduced disease management costs compared with IMT.

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