Comparing the cost-effectiveness of innovative colorectal cancer screening tests

Colorectal Cancer

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2020 Aug 6:djaa103. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djaa103. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening with colonoscopy and the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is underutilized. Innovative tests could increase screening acceptance. This study determined which of the available alternatives is most promising from a cost-effectiveness perspective.

METHODS: The previously-validated MISCAN-Colon model was used to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of screening with capsule endoscopy every 5 or 10 years, computed tomographic colonography (CTC) every 5 years, the multi-target stool DNA (mtSDNA) test every 1 or 3 years, and the methylated SEPT9 DNA plasma assay (mSEPT9) every 1 or 2 years. We also compared these strategies to annual FIT screening and colonoscopy screening every 10 years. Quality-adjusted life-years gained (QALYG), number of colonoscopies, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were projected. We assumed a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100,000 per QALYG.

RESULTS: Among the alternative tests, CTC every 5 years, annual mSEPT9 and annual mtSDNA screening had ICERs of $1,092, $63,253 and $214,974 per QALYG, respectively. Other screening strategies were more costly and less effective than (a combination of) these three. Under the assumption of perfect adherence, annual mSEPT9 screening resulted in more QALYG, CRC cases averted and CRC deaths averted than annual FIT screening, but led to a high rate of colonoscopy referral (51% after 3 years, 69% after 5 years). The alternative tests were not cost-effective compared to FIT and colonoscopy.

CONCLUSION: This study suggests that for individuals not willing to participate in FIT or colonoscopy screening, mSEPT9 is the test of choice if the high colonoscopy referral rate is acceptable to them.