Background: This study aimed to assess the recent changes of radiation therapy (RT) modalities in Korea. In particular, we focused on intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) utilization as the main index, presenting the application status of advanced RT. Methods: We collected information from the Korean Health and Insurance Review and Assessment Service data based on the National Health Insurance Service claims and reimbursements records by using treatment codes from 2010 to 2016. We classified locating region of each institution as capital vs. non-capital areas and metropolitan vs. non-metropolitan areas to assess the regional difference in IMRT utilization in Korea. Results: IMRT use has been steadily increased in Korea, with an annual increase estimate (AIE) of 37.9% from 2011 to 2016 (P < 0.001) resulting in IMRT being the second most common RT modality following three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy. In general, an increasing trend of IMRT utilization was observed, regardless of the region. The rate of AIE in the capital areas or metropolitan areas was higher than that in non-capital areas or non-metropolitan areas (40.7% vs. 31.9%; P < 0.001 and 39.7% vs. 29.4%; P < 0.001, respectively). Discussion: The result of our survey showed that IMRT has become one of the most common RT modalities. IMRT is becoming popular in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, while metropolitan area has faster AIE possibly due to concentration of medical resources and movement of advanced patients.
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy
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