Scale-up of radiotherapy for cervical cancer in the era of human papillomavirus vaccination in low-income and middle-income countries: a model-based analysis of need and economic impact

Danielle Rodin, Emily A. Burger, Rifat Atun, Michael Barton, Mary Gospodarowicz, Surbhi Grover, Timothy P. Hanna, David A. Jaffray, Felicia M. Knaul, Yolande Lievens, Eduardo Zubizarreta, Michael Milosevic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Radiotherapy is standard of care for cervical cancer, but major global gaps in access exist, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries. We modelled the health and economic benefits of a 20-year radiotherapy scale-up to estimate the long-term demand for treatment in the context of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. Methods: We applied the Global Task Force on Radiotherapy for Cancer Control investment framework to model the health and economic benefits of scaling up external-beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy for cervical cancer in upper-middle-income, lower-middle-income, and low-income countries between 2015 and 2035. We estimated the unique costs of external-beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy and included a specific valuation of women's caregiving contributions. Model outcomes life-years gained and the human capital and full income net present value of investment. We estimated the effects of stage at diagnosis, radiotherapy delivery system, and simultaneous HPV vaccination (75% coverage) up to a time horizon set at 2072. Findings: For the period from 2015 to 2035, we estimated that 9·4 million women in low-income and middle-income countries required treatment with external-beam radiotherapy, of which 7·0 million also required treatment with brachytherapy. Incremental scale-up of radiotherapy in these countries from 2015 to meet optimal radiotherapy demand by 2035 yielded 11·4 million life-years gained, $59·3 billion in human capital net present value (−$1·5 billion in low-income, $19·9 billion in lower-middle-income, and $40·9 billion in upper-middle-income countries), and $151·5 billion in full income net present value ($1·5 billion in low-income countries, $53·6 billion in lower-middle-income countries, and $96·4 billion in upper-middle-income countries). Benefits increased with advanced stage of cervical cancer and more efficient scale up of radiotherapy. Bivalent HPV vaccination of 12-year-old girls resulted in a 3·9% reduction in incident cases from 2015–2035. By 2072, when the first vaccinated cohort of girls reaches 70 years of age, vaccination yielded a 22·9% reduction in cervical cancer incidence, with 38·4 million requiring external-beam radiotherapy and 28·8 million requiring brachytherapy. Interpretation: Effective cervical cancer control requires a comprehensive strategy. Even with HPV vaccination, radiotherapy treatment scale-up remains essential and produces large health benefits and a strong return on investment to countries at different levels of development. Funding: None.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)915-923
Number of pages9
JournalThe Lancet Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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