The use of local therapy for prostate cancer may increase because of the perceived advantages of new technologies such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and robotic prostatectomy.
To examine the association of market-level technological capacity with receipt of local therapy.
Patients with localized prostate cancer who were diagnosed between 2003 and 2007 (n=59,043) from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results—Medicare database.
We measured the capacity for delivering treatment with new technology as the number of providers offering robotic prostatectomy or IMRT per population in a market (hospital referral region). The association of this measure with receipt of prostatectomy, radiotherapy, or observation was examined with multinomial logistic regression.
For each 1000 patients diagnosed with prostate cancer, 174 underwent prostatectomy, 490 radiotherapy, and 336 were observed. Markets with high robotic prostatectomy capacity had higher use of prostatectomy (146 vs. 118 per 1000 men, P=0.008) but a trend toward decreased use of radiotherapy (574 vs. 601 per 1000 men, P=0.068), resulting in a stable rate of local therapy. High versus low IMRT capacity did not significantly impact the use of prostatectomy (129 vs. 129 per 1000 men, P=0.947) and radiotherapy (594 vs. 585 per 1000 men, P=0.579).
Although there was a small shift from radiotherapy to prostatectomy in markets with high robotic prostatectomy capacity, increased capacity for both robotic prostatectomy and IMRT did not change the overall rate of local therapy. Our findings temper concerns that the new technology spurs additional therapy of prostate cancer.