Authors: Dinan MA, Li Y, Reed SD, Sosa JA
Title: Initial Adoption of Recombinant Human Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone Following Thyroidectomy in the Medicare Thyroid Cancer Patient Population.
Journal: Endocr Pract 25(1):31-42
Date: 2019 Jan
PubMed ID: 30383499
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Recombinant human thyroid-stimulating hormone (rhTSH) has been approved for diagnostic (1998) and therapeutic (2008) indications in conjunction with radioactive iodine (RAI) administration post-thyroidectomy. Potential benefits of rhTSH, including avoidance of hypothyroidism side effects and shorter, less costly hospital stays, have not been assessed at the population level within the United States. In this study we quantify utilization, outcomes, and associated costs of rhTSH within the nationally representative Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare patient population. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of beneficiaries aged >65 years diagnosed within the SEER-Medicare data with differentiated thyroid cancer. Endpoints examined included ( 1) rhTSH utilization in the 2 years post-thyroidectomy (patients diagnosed 1996-2011 [utilization cohort]) and ( 2) comparison of resource utilization and costs as a function of rhTSH receipt in the 30 days prior to and 1 year following therapeutic RAI administration (patients diagnosed 2008-2011 [resource use cohort]). All costs were adjusted to reflect 2013 dollars. RESULTS: A total of 6,482 patients met inclusion criteria, of which, 1,363 (21.0%) received rhTSH. Receipt varied by region and was higher in the South (18%), Northeast (28%), and West (44%) compared to the Midwest (10%), and lower in census tracts in the bottom quartile of high school education rates (odds ratio 0.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.55-0.83). rhTSH receipt was not associated with patient sex, age, comorbidities, or stage. Post-therapeutic RAI, 1,444 patients were assessed for resource utilization (2008-2011). The average cost of rhTSH was $905 per patient, with $2,483 being spent on average among patients who received rhTSH in association with therapeutic RAI. rhTSH receipt was not significantly associated with total inpatient days or number of outpatient and emergency department visits. Multivariable analyses showed similar overall costs among patients who did versus did not receive rhTSH (cost ratio [CR] 0.96, 95% CI 0.86-1.09), partially due to increased mean outpatient costs ($5,213 vs. $4,190) being offset by lower inpatient costs ($3,493 vs. $6,143). Overall costs were significantly higher in multivariable analyses among patients with distant metastatic disease (CR 1.92, 95% CI 1.58-2.32) and multiple comorbidities (CR 2.15, 95% CI 1.83-2.53). CONCLUSION: rhTSH recipients had higher outpatient, lower inpatient, and similar total Medicare payments as those not receiving rhTSH in conjunction with RAI, lending support to the use of rhTSH as a cost-neutral treatment option from the payer perspective. ABBREVIATIONS: CI = confidence interval; CMS = Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; CR = cost ratio; HCPCS = Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System; IQR = interquartile range; mCi = millicurie; OR = odds ratio; PET = positron emission tomography; RAI = radioactive iodine; rhTSH = recombinant human thyroid-stimulating hormone; RR = risk ratio; SEER = Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results.