The INTRABEAM® Photon Radiotherapy System for the adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer: a systematic review and economic evaluation

Jo Picot, Vicky Copley, Jill L Colquitt, Neelam Kalita, Debbie Hartwell, Jackie Bryant
Health Technology Assessment: HTA 2015, 19 (69): 1-190

BACKGROUND: Initial treatment for early breast cancer is usually either breast-conserving surgery (BCS) or mastectomy. After BCS, whole-breast external beam radiotherapy (WB-EBRT) is the standard of care. A potential alternative to post-operative WB-EBRT is intraoperative radiation therapy delivered by the INTRABEAM(®) Photon Radiotherapy System (Carl Zeiss, Oberkochen, Germany) to the tissue adjacent to the resection cavity at the time of surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of INTRABEAM for the adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer during surgical removal of the tumour.

DATA SOURCES: Electronic bibliographic databases, including MEDLINE, EMBASE and The Cochrane Library, were searched from inception to March 2014 for English-language articles. Bibliographies of articles, systematic reviews, clinical guidelines and the manufacturer's submission were also searched. The advisory group was contacted to identify additional evidence.

METHODS: Systematic reviews of clinical effectiveness, health-related quality of life and cost-effectiveness were conducted. Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts for eligibility. Inclusion criteria were applied to full texts of retrieved papers by one reviewer and checked by a second reviewer. Data extraction and quality assessment were undertaken by one reviewer and checked by a second reviewer, and differences in opinion were resolved through discussion at each stage. Clinical effectiveness studies were included if they were carried out in patients with early operable breast cancer. The intervention was the INTRABEAM system, which was compared with WB-EBRT, and study designs were randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Controlled clinical trials could be considered if data from available RCTs were incomplete (e.g. absence of data on outcomes of interest). A cost-utility decision-analytic model was developed to estimate the costs, benefits and cost-effectiveness of INTRABEAM compared with WB-EBRT for early operable breast cancer.

RESULTS: One non-inferiority RCT, TARGeted Intraoperative radioTherapy Alone (TARGIT-A), met the inclusion criteria for the review. The review found that local recurrence was slightly higher following INTRABEAM than WB-EBRT, but the difference did not exceed the 2.5% non-inferiority margin providing INTRABEAM was given at the same time as BCS. Overall survival was similar with both treatments. Statistically significant differences in complications were found for the occurrence of wound seroma requiring more than three aspirations (more frequent in the INTRABEAM group) and for a Radiation Therapy Oncology Group toxicity score of grade 3 or 4 (less frequent in the INTRABEAM group). Cost-effectiveness base-case analysis indicates that INTRABEAM is less expensive but also less effective than WB-EBRT because it is associated with lower total costs but fewer total quality-adjusted life-years gained. However, sensitivity analyses identified four model parameters that can cause a switch in the treatment option that is considered cost-effective.

LIMITATIONS: The base-case result from the model is subject to uncertainty because the disease progression parameters are largely drawn from the single available RCT. The RCT median follow-up of 2 years 5 months may be inadequate, particularly as the number of participants with local recurrence is low. The model is particularly sensitive to this parameter.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: A significant investment in INTRABEAM equipment and staff training (clinical and non-clinical) would be required to make this technology available across the NHS. Longer-term follow-up data from the TARGIT-A trial and analysis of registry data are required as results are currently based on a small number of events and economic modelling results are uncertain.

STUDY REGISTRATION: This study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42013006720.

FUNDING: The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme. Note that the economic model associated with this document is protected by intellectual property rights, which are owned by the University of Southampton. Anyone wishing to modify, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile, dismantle or create derivative work based on the economic model must first seek the agreement of the property owners.

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