A supportive care in cancer unit reduces costs and hospitalizations for transfusions in a comprehensive cancer center



Among patients with solid or hematologic malignancies undergoing oncologic therapies, blood product transfusions (BPT) are a relevant reason for planned/unplanned hospitalizations, as well as a possible cause of delay in administration of the oncologic therapies. Furthermore, they create additional costs for the healthcare system (HCS). The aim of this study was to compare the costs of performing BPT (erythrocytes and platelets) in medical units/wards to the costs derived from the administration of BPT in a dedicated outpatient supportive care in cancer unit (SCCU).


Costs were analyzed from June 3, 2009 (when the SCCU started), until December 2013. Four inpatient oncologic units (bone marrow transplantation, radiotherapy, medical oncology I and II) were compared to the SCCU. Data regarding the transfusions performed by the SCCU of the patients who were previously hospitalized for transfusions were extracted, checked, and analyzed through a cross-check on the tax codes. Therefore, patients were considered suitable for the analysis if they had received BPT in the SCCU after a previous hospitalization for transfusion in one of the 4 units/wards. The average daily cost deriving from blood product units and from the hospitalization in each ward (irrespective of pharmaceutical expenses) was compared with the average daily cost deriving from blood product units and from the management of patients in the SCCU.


We analyzed 227 patients (112 female) with a mean age of 60 years (range 20-90) with hematologic malignancies in 79% of cases. The number of transfusions performed by the SCCU has grown constantly and consistently over the years, reaching 1,402 transfusions in 2013, thus exceeding the other considered units. The total savings for the HCS was €282.204.71, €151.182.85 in 2013 only. We saved €124.319,26 for each patient transfused at the SCCU.


A dedicated outpatient SCCU, aimed at monitoring and treating cancer therapy-related toxicities and comorbidities and in which it is also possible to perform BPT promptly and effectively, reduces the number of hospitalizations and provides an economical benefit for HCS.

Tumori 2017; 103(5): 449 - 456




Carla Ida Ripamonti, Pietro Molani, Cinzia Desti, Giacomo Boscagli, Fernando Ravagnani, Flavio Arienti, Clementina Di Cristo

Article History


Financial support: No financial support was received for this submission.
Conflict of interest: None of the authors has conflict of interest with this submission.

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  •  Supportive Care in Cancer Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan - Italy
  •  Management Control Department, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan - Italy
  •  Immunohematology and Transfusion Medicine Service (SIMT), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan - Italy

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