Cost-effective imaging for resectability of liver lesions in colorectal cancer: an economic decision model

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Journal Article
ANZ Journal of Surgery, 2018, 88 (6), pp. E507 - E511
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© 2017 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Background: This study aimed to determine the cost-effectiveness of contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (CE-MRI) compared with multiphase CE computed tomography (CE-CT) scan to characterize suspected liver lesions in patients with known colorectal carcinoma. Methods: A decision analytic model linking diagnostic accuracy to health outcomes in patients with colorectal carcinoma was constructed. The model assumed that CE-MRI has superior sensitivity and equivalent specificity to CE-CT, and patients with a colorectal liver metastasis could be eligible for curative surgery or chemotherapy and palliation. Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis was associated with worse health outcomes (disutility). Cost-effectiveness was calculated as the incremental cost relative to the incremental benefit, the benefit was estimated using quality-adjusted life years. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to test the robustness of the results. Results: The clinical evidence supports increased sensitivity of CE-MRI compared with CE-CT (0.943 versus 0.768). CE-MRI was more effective and more costly than CE-CT. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was estimated to be $40 548 per quality-adjusted life year gained. The model is most sensitive to the cost of MRI, cost of palliative treatment and the disutility associated with delayed palliative care. The results were also sensitive to the assumptions made about the clinical algorithm. Conclusion: The results provide evidence of the potential cost-effectiveness associated with CE-MRI for the diagnosis of liver metastases in patients with identified colorectal carcinoma. CE-MRI can be recommended as cost-effective provided it replaces CE-CT and that improved diagnostic accuracy results in earlier, curative, disease management.
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