PLoS One 2018 February 5 [Link]

Stewart SA, Clive AO, Maskell NA, Penz E


The SMART trial is a UK-based, multicentre RCT comparing prophylactic radiotherapy and symptom-based (deferred) radiotherapy in 203 patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma who had undergone large bore pleural interventions. Using costs and quality of life data collected alongside the clinical trial, we will estimate the cost-effectiveness of prophylactic radiotherapy compared to deferred radiotherapy over a 1-year period.

Healthcare utilization and costs were captured during the trial. Utility weights produced by the EQ-5D questionnaire were used to determine quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) gained. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was calculated over the one-year trial period.

Costs were similar in the immediate and deferred radiotherapy groups: £5480.40 (SD = £7040; n = 102) and £5461.40 (SD = £7770; n = 101) respectively. There was also no difference in QALY: 0.498 (95% CI: [0.45, 0.547]) in the prophylactic radiotherapy group versus 0.525 (95% CI: [0.471, 0.580]) in the deferred group. At a willingness to pay threshold of £30,000/QALY there was only a 24% chance that prophylactic radiotherapy was cost-effective compared to deferred radiotherapy.

There was no significant effect of prophylactic radiotherapy on quality of life in the intervention group, nor was there any discernable decrease in healthcare costs. There is little evidence to suggest that prophylactic radiotherapy is a cost-effective intervention in this population.