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Keywords:

  • leukemia;
  • myeloma;
  • radiotherapy;
  • utilization rate

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The objective of this study was to estimate the ideal proportion of new patients with leukemia and myeloma who should receive radiotherapy at some time during the course of their illness based on the best evidence.

METHODS

Available evidence of the efficacy of radiotherapy in most clinical situations for leukemia and myeloma was identified through extensive literature reviews and treatment guideline searches. Epidemiologic data concerning the distribution of types, disease stages, and other factors that influence the use of radiotherapy were identified. Decision trees were constructed to merge the evidence-based recommendations with the epidemiological data to calculate the optimal proportion of patients who should receive radiotherapy according to the best available evidence. Actual radiotherapy utilization rates also were identified.

RESULTS

The proportion of patients diagnosed with myeloma in Australia who should receive radiotherapy based on the evidence was 38%. There was wide variation in the proportion of patients who actually received radiotherapy for myeloma from 24% up to 55%. The recommended proportion of patients diagnosed with myeloma in Australia who, according to the best available evidence, should receive at least a single course of radiotherapy was 38%. The proportion of patients diagnosed in Australia with leukemia who should receive radiotherapy at some point in their management, according to the best available evidence, was calculated at 4%, which corresponded with actual practice.

CONCLUSIONS

Further research will be required to determine why more patients who are diagnosed with myeloma are not treated with radiotherapy. Cancer 2005. © 2004 American Cancer Society.