Importance: Earlier studies on the cost of muscle-invasive bladder cancer treatments lack granularity and are limited to 180 days. Objective: To compare the 1-year costs associated with trimodal therapy vs radical cystectomy, accounting for survival and intensity effects on total costs. Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based cohort study used the US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare database and included 2963 patients aged 66 to 85 years who had received a diagnosis of clinical stage T2 to T4a muscle-invasive bladder cancer from January 1, 2002, through December 31, 2011. The data analysis was performed from March 5, 2018, through December 4, 2018. Main Outcomes and Measures: Total Medicare costs within 1 year of diagnosis following radical cystectomy vs trimodal therapy were compared using inverse probability of treatment-weighted propensity score models that included a 2-part estimator to account for intrinsic selection bias. Results: Of 2963 participants, 1030 (34.8%) were women, 2591 (87.4%) were white, 129 (4.4%) were African American, and 98 (3.3%) were Hispanic. Median costs were significantly higher for trimodal therapy than radical cystectomy in 90 days ($83754 vs $68692; median difference, $11805; 95% CI, $7745-$15864), 180 days ($187162 vs $109078; median difference, $62370; 95% CI, $55581-$69160), and 365 days ($289142 vs $148757; median difference, $109027; 95% CI, $98692-$119363), respectively. Outpatient care, radiology, medication expenses, and pathology/laboratory costs contributed largely to the higher costs associated with trimodal therapy. On inverse probability of treatment-weighted adjusted analyses, patients undergoing trimodal therapy had $136935 (95% CI, $122131-$152115) higher mean costs compared with radical cystectomy 1 year after diagnosis. Conclusions and Relevance: Compared with radical cystectomy, trimodal therapy was associated with higher costs among patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer. The differences in costs were largely attributed to medication and radiology expenses associated with trimodal therapy. Extrapolating cost figures resulted in a nationwide excess spending of $468 million for trimodal therapy compared with radical cystectomy for patients who received a diagnosis of bladder cancer in 2017.
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