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The full text of this issue is available as a PDF document from the Toolkit section on this page.

The full text of this issue is available as a PDF document from the Toolkit section on this page.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of new and emerging technologies for early, localised prostate cancer.

DATA SOURCES

Electronic databases, reference lists of relevant articles and various health services research-related resources.

REVIEW METHODS

A list of new and emerging technologies was identified and agreed. A systematic review was undertaken and selected studies were reviewed against a set of criteria. An economic model was developed and used to compare the specified newer treatments with the traditional approaches.

RESULTS

For neoadjuvant hormonal therapy, no evidence of benefit was seen in terms of biochemical disease-free survival. For adjuvant hormonal therapy, there was no evidence of benefit in terms of survival, but some conflicting evidence that higher risk patients may benefit. The largest number of studies reported results for brachytherapy, where some evidence suggested that it may be more effective than standard treatments for lower risk patients, although less effective for intermediate- and high-risk patients, in terms of biochemical disease-free survival. Lower quality evidence reported fewer complications than for standard treatments. Higher quality evidence suggested that disease-specific quality of life (QoL) for brachytherapy patients was lower than for patients receiving standard treatments. The review of three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) considered treatment-related morbidity, where significantly fewer gastrointestinal complications occurred than with standard radiotherapy. It was suggested that higher radiation doses achieved better disease control, although patient characteristics were often reported as independent indicators of control. The review of intensity-modulated conformal radiotherapy suggested that late gastrointestinal toxicity may be reduced compared with 3D-CRT. For cryotherapy, high rates of impotence were reported. Owing to the paucity and poor quality of evidence identified for other interventions, conclusions regarding their clinical effectiveness cannot be drawn. Cost-effectiveness estimates were based on the impact of adverse events on quality-adjusted life-years and the assessment was restricted to brachytherapy, 3D-CRT and cryotherapy compared with standard treatments. Of the new treatments included, only cryotherapy appeared not to be potentially cost-effective compared with traditional treatments, owing to the associated high incidence of impotence.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of the clinical effectiveness review should be viewed in the context of the quality of the available evidence. Very few randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were identified, with the majority of included studies being descriptive case series, open to patient selection bias and measuring surrogate end-points with short-term follow-up. It is difficult therefore to draw conclusions on the relative benefits or otherwise of the newer technologies owing to the lack of substantive evidence of any quality and the lack of comparisons between the newer technologies and with standard treatments. Given the lack of high-quality clinical evidence with long-term follow-up and the uncertainty surrounding the assumptions in the economic analysis, the following areas are recommended for further research: RCTs with sufficient follow-up to measure benefits in terms of overall survival to include QoL measurement to establish trade-offs between potential adverse events and benefits of treatment; the identification of prognostic risk factors among men diagnosed with early prostate cancer; QoL studies to compare the utility of health states among patients on active monitoring, patients receiving treatment and the comparable healthy population; the relationship between surrogate end-points and survival; and the adoption of standard definitions for adverse events.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of new and emerging technologies for early, localised prostate cancer.

DATA SOURCES

Electronic databases, reference lists of relevant articles and various health services research-related resources.

REVIEW METHODS

A list of new and emerging technologies was identified and agreed. A systematic review was undertaken and selected studies were reviewed against a set of criteria. An economic model was developed and used to compare the specified newer treatments with the traditional approaches.

RESULTS

For neoadjuvant hormonal therapy, no evidence of benefit was seen in terms of biochemical disease-free survival. For adjuvant hormonal therapy, there was no evidence of benefit in terms of survival, but some conflicting evidence that higher risk patients may benefit. The largest number of studies reported results for brachytherapy, where some evidence suggested that it may be more effective than standard treatments for lower risk patients, although less effective for intermediate- and high-risk patients, in terms of biochemical disease-free survival. Lower quality evidence reported fewer complications than for standard treatments. Higher quality evidence suggested that disease-specific quality of life (QoL) for brachytherapy patients was lower than for patients receiving standard treatments. The review of three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) considered treatment-related morbidity, where significantly fewer gastrointestinal complications occurred than with standard radiotherapy. It was suggested that higher radiation doses achieved better disease control, although patient characteristics were often reported as independent indicators of control. The review of intensity-modulated conformal radiotherapy suggested that late gastrointestinal toxicity may be reduced compared with 3D-CRT. For cryotherapy, high rates of impotence were reported. Owing to the paucity and poor quality of evidence identified for other interventions, conclusions regarding their clinical effectiveness cannot be drawn. Cost-effectiveness estimates were based on the impact of adverse events on quality-adjusted life-years and the assessment was restricted to brachytherapy, 3D-CRT and cryotherapy compared with standard treatments. Of the new treatments included, only cryotherapy appeared not to be potentially cost-effective compared with traditional treatments, owing to the associated high incidence of impotence.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of the clinical effectiveness review should be viewed in the context of the quality of the available evidence. Very few randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were identified, with the majority of included studies being descriptive case series, open to patient selection bias and measuring surrogate end-points with short-term follow-up. It is difficult therefore to draw conclusions on the relative benefits or otherwise of the newer technologies owing to the lack of substantive evidence of any quality and the lack of comparisons between the newer technologies and with standard treatments. Given the lack of high-quality clinical evidence with long-term follow-up and the uncertainty surrounding the assumptions in the economic analysis, the following areas are recommended for further research: RCTs with sufficient follow-up to measure benefits in terms of overall survival to include QoL measurement to establish trade-offs between potential adverse events and benefits of treatment; the identification of prognostic risk factors among men diagnosed with early prostate cancer; QoL studies to compare the utility of health states among patients on active monitoring, patients receiving treatment and the comparable healthy population; the relationship between surrogate end-points and survival; and the adoption of standard definitions for adverse events.

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