HealthDay News — The number of US patients receiving proton beam therapy (PBT) for newly diagnosed cancers increased from 2004 to 2018, according to a study published online April 27 in JAMA Network Open.

Leticia M. Nogueira, PhD, MPH, from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed patterns of PBT use among groups of patients with different PBT indications in the United States from 2014 to 2018. The analysis included more than 5.9 million eligible patients.

The researchers found that use of PBT in the United States increased from 0.4% in 2004 to 1.2% in 2018 (annual percent change [APC], 8.12%). This was driven by increases among patients for whom health insurance coverage for PBT treatment was recommended (0.4% in 2010 to 2.2% in 2018; APC, 21.97) and increases among those for whom coverage was recommended only if additional requirements were met (0.03% in 2014 to 0.1% in 2018; APC, 30.57). Among patients for whom health insurance coverage for PBT treatment was recommended and who were treated with PBT, 55.4% had private insurance coverage in 2018.

“The findings of this study suggest that PBT uptake varies by indication group and is most commonly used to treat cancers for which PBT effectiveness is still under study,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to various medical and pharmaceutical companies.

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