Estimation of the optimal radiotherapy utilization rate for childhood neuroblastoma

Document Type



Radiation Oncology


Background and purpose: The optimal utilization rate of radiotherapy (oRUR) serves as a benchmark for assessing service demand and improving access to cancer care. While it is estimated that approximately 50 % of adult cancer patients require external beam radiotherapy during their treatment, there is a scarcity of data regarding the optimal use of radiotherapy in pediatric cancer. In this study, we adopted an established method and developed a model to estimate the oRUR in childhood neuroblastoma.
Materials and methods: We developed a decision tree model to calculate the oRUR using indications for radiotherapy and corresponding epidemiological data collected through systematic review and meta-analysis. Sensitivity analyses were performed to evaluate the impact of variations in radiotherapy indications between treatment protocols and variables in the model. We calculated and compared the oRUR for global, high-income, and low- and middle-income settings.
Results: The oRUR for pediatric neuroblastoma was 64 % (95 % CI: 58 %-71 %) in the global setting, 50 % in high-income countries, and 68 % in low- and middle-income countries. The impact of variation in radiotherapy indications between major international treatment protocols was negligible.
Conclusion: The knowledge of oRUR is crucial for evaluating current practices, identifying gaps in access, and planning future radiotherapy services for treating childhood cancer. Based on our results, 64 % of children with neuroblastoma have an indication for radiotherapy. Patients in low- and middle-income countries have more indications for radiotherapy than those in high-income countries, due to a more adverse tumour stage distribution caused by limited access to healthcare resources.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Radiotherapy and Oncology