Inappropriate utilization of radiographic imaging in men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer in the United States - Abstract

Section of Urology, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.


The use of radiographic imaging (bone scan and computerized tomography) is only recommended for men diagnosed with high-risk prostate cancer characteristics. The authors sought to characterize utilization patterns of imaging in men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer.

The authors performed a population-based observational cohort study using the US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare linked data to identify 30,183 men diagnosed with prostate cancer during 2004 to 2005.

Thirty-four percent of men with low-risk and 48% with intermediate-risk prostate cancer underwent imaging, whereas only 60% of men with high-risk disease received imaging before treatment. Radiographic imaging utilization was greater for men who were older than 75 years (odds ratio [OR], 1.28; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.20-1.37; P < .001), were black (OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.01-1.21; P = .030), resided in wealthier areas (OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.08-1.32 for median income >$60,000 vs < $35,000; P < .001), lived in rural regions (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.12-1.36; P < .001), or underwent standard radiation therapies (OR, 1.71; 95% CI, 1.60-1.84; P < .001). Imaging utilization was less for men living in areas with greater high school education (OR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.75-0.91 between highest and lowest graduation rates; P < .001) or opting for active surveillance (OR, 0.17; 95% CI, 0.15-0.19 vs radical prostatectomy; P < .001). The estimated cost of unnecessary imaging over this 2-year period exceeded $3.6 million.

In the United States, there is widespread overutilization of imaging for low-risk and intermediate-risk prostate cancer, whereas a worrisome number of men with high-risk disease did not receive appropriate imaging studies to exclude metastases before therapy.

Written by:
Prasad SM, Gu X, Lipsitz SR, Nguyen PL, Hu JC.   Are you the author?

Reference: Cancer. 2011 Aug 5. Epub ahead of print.
doi: 10.1002/cncr.26416

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 21823112 Prostate Cancer Section