Cost drivers of locally advanced rectal cancer treatment—An analysis of a leading healthcare insurer

Fabian Grass, Amit Merchea, Kellie L. Mathis, Nitin Mishra, Herbert Heien, Lindsey R. Sangaralingham, David W. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To evaluate the economic burden of locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) treatment from a society perspective through analysis of health insurance-derived data of commercially insured and Medicare Advantage (MA) patients. Methods: Retrospective cost analysis of patients undergoing rectal resection within a multimodal (neoadjuvant chemoradiation + adjuvant chemotherapy) treatment strategy between January 1, 2010 and October 31, 2018, using the claims OptumLabs Data Warehouse database. Results: In total, 1738 (935 commercial and 803 MA) patients were included. Overall treatment costs totaled $230,881,746 (on average $183 653 ± 82 384 per commercially insured and $73 681 ± 32 917 per MA patient). Cost distribution according to category (commercially insured patients) was: 29.92% related to outpatient care (follow-up visits/diagnostics), radiotherapy: 21.83%, index resection: 20.62%, chemotherapy: 17.44%, surgical inpatient: 6.32%, medical inpatient: 3.28%, emergency room: 0.58%. Relative cost distribution of the index resection itself differed marginally between the three approaches and was 21.49% for open, 19.30% for laparoscopic, and 20.93% for robotic surgery. Relative cost distributions of neoadjuvant, adjuvant, and outpatient treatments remained unchanged, independently of the surgical approach. This representation was similar in MA patients. Conclusion: Index-surgery related costs were outweighed by costs related to oncological and outpatient workup/follow-up treatments independently of both surgical approach and insurance type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1023-1029
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 15 2021


  • cost
  • multidisciplinary
  • rectal cancer treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cost drivers of locally advanced rectal cancer treatment—An analysis of a leading healthcare insurer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this