How costly is particle therapy? Cost analysis of external beam radiotherapy with carbon-ions, protons and photons

Andrea Peeters, Janneke P. C. Grutters, Madelon Pijls-Johannesma*, Stefan Reimoser, Dirk De Ruysscher, Johan L. Severens, Manuela A. Joore, Philippe Lambin

*Corresponding author for this work

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Purpose: Particle therapy has potentially a better therapeutic ratio than photon therapy. However, investment costs are much higher. This study provides an estimation and comparison of the costs of these therapies. Methods: Within an extensive analytical framework capital and operational costs, cost per fraction, and four tumor specific treatment costs are calculated for three facilities: combined carbon-ion/proton, proton-only, and photon. Results: Capital costs for the combined, proton-only and photon facilities are: (sic) 138.6 million, (sic) 94.9 million, (sic) 23.4 million. Total costs per year are: (sic) 36.7 million, (sic) 24.9 million, (sic) 9.6 million. Cost per fraction is: (sic) 1128 ((sic) 877-1974), (sic) 743 ((sic) 578-1300), (sic) 233 ((sic) 190-407). Cost ratio particle/photon therapy is 4.8 for the combined and 3.2 for the proton-only facility. Particle treatment costs vary from (sic) 10,030 (c-ion: lung cancer) to (sic) 39,610 (proton: head & neck tumors). Cost difference between particle and photon therapies is relatively small for lung and prostate cancer, larger for skull-base chordoma and head & neck tumors. Conclusion: Investment costs are highest for the combined carbon-ion/proton facility and lowest for the photon facility. Cost differences become smaller when total costs per year and specific treatment costs are compared. Lower fractionation schedule of particle therapy might further reduce its costs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-53
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Particle therapy
  • Cost
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Photon
  • C-ion
  • Hadron


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