PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (1098053)

Clipboard (0)
None

Related Articles

1.  Strategies to Identify the Lynch Syndrome Among Patients With Colorectal Cancer 
Annals of internal medicine  2011;155(2):69-79.
Background
Testing has been advocated for all persons with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer to identify families with the Lynch syndrome, an autosomal dominant cancer-predisposition syndrome that is a paradigm for personalized medicine.
Objective
To estimate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of strategies to identify the Lynch syndrome, with attention to sex, age at screening, and differential effects for probands and relatives.
Design
Markov model that incorporated risk for colorectal, endometrial, and ovarian cancers.
Data Sources
Published literature.
Target Population
All persons with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer and their relatives.
Time Horizon
Lifetime.
Perspective
Third-party payer.
Intervention
Strategies based on clinical criteria, prediction algorithms, tumor testing, or up-front germline mutation testing, followed by tailored screening and risk-reducing surgery.
Outcome Measures
Life-years, cancer cases and deaths, costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios.
Results of Base-Case Analysis
The benefit of all strategies accrued primarily to relatives with a mutation associated with the Lynch syndrome, particularly women, whose life expectancy could increase by approximately 4 years with hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy and adherence to colorectal cancer screening recommendations. At current rates of germline testing, screening, and prophylactic surgery, the strategies reduced deaths from colorectal cancer by 7% to 42% and deaths from endometrial and ovarian cancer by 1% to 6%. Among tumor-testing strategies, immunohistochemistry followed by BRAF mutation testing was preferred, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $36 200 per life-year gained.
Results of Sensitivity Analysis
The number of relatives tested per proband was a critical determinant of both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, with testing of 3 to 4 relatives required for most strategies to meet a threshold of $50 000 per life-year gained. Immunohistochemistry followed by BRAF mutation testing was preferred in 59% of iterations in probabilistic sensitivity analysis at a threshold of $100 000 per life-year gained. Screening for the Lynch syndrome with immunohistochemistry followed by BRAF mutation testing only up to age 70 years cost $44 000 per incremental life-year gained compared with screening only up to age 60 years, and screening without an upper age limit cost $88 700 per incremental life-year gained compared with screening only up to age 70 years.
Limitation
Other types of cancer, uncertain family pedigrees, and genetic variants of unknown significance were not considered.
Conclusion
Widespread colorectal tumor testing to identify families with the Lynch syndrome could yield substantial benefits at acceptable costs, particularly for women with a mutation associated with the Lynch syndrome who begin regular screening and have risk-reducing surgery. The cost-effectiveness of such testing depends on the participation rate among relatives at risk for the Lynch syndrome.
Primary Funding Source
National Institutes of Health.
doi:10.7326/0003-4819-155-2-201107190-00002
PMCID: PMC3793257  PMID: 21768580
2.  Cost-Effectiveness of Pooled Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing for Acute HIV Infection after Third-Generation HIV Antibody Screening and Rapid Testing in the United States: A Comparison of Three Public Health Settings 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(9):e1000342.
Angela Hutchinson and colleagues conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of pooled nucleic acid amplification testing following HIV testing and show that it is not cost-effective at recommended antibody testing intervals for high-risk persons except in very high-incidence settings.
Background
Detection of acute HIV infection (AHI) with pooled nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) following HIV testing is feasible. However, cost-effectiveness analyses to guide policy around AHI screening are lacking; particularly after more sensitive third-generation antibody screening and rapid testing.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of pooled NAAT screening that assessed the prevention benefits of identification and notification of persons with AHI and cases averted compared with repeat antibody testing at different intervals. Effectiveness data were derived from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention AHI study conducted in three settings: municipal sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics, a community clinic serving a population of men who have sex with men, and HIV counseling and testing sites. Our analysis included a micro-costing study of NAAT and a mathematical model of HIV transmission. Cost-effectiveness ratios are reported as costs per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained in US dollars from the societal perspective. Sensitivity analyses were conducted on key variables, including AHI positivity rates, antibody testing frequency, symptomatic detection of AHI, and costs. Pooled NAAT for AHI screening following annual antibody testing had cost-effectiveness ratios exceeding US$200,000 per QALY gained for the municipal STD clinics and HIV counseling and testing sites and was cost saving for the community clinic. Cost-effectiveness ratios increased substantially if the antibody testing interval decreased to every 6 months and decreased to cost-saving if the testing interval increased to every 5 years. NAAT was cost saving in the community clinic in all situations. Results were particularly sensitive to AHI screening yield.
Conclusions
Pooled NAAT screening for AHI following negative third-generation antibody or rapid tests is not cost-effective at recommended antibody testing intervals for high-risk persons except in very high-incidence settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Since 1981, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has killed about 25 million people and about 30 million people are now infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. HIV, which is most often transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected partner or injection drug use, infects and kills immune system cells, leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infectious diseases. The first, often undiagnosed stage of HIV infection—acute HIV infection (AHI)—lasts a few weeks and sometimes involves a flu-like illness. During AHI, the immune system responds to HIV by beginning to make antibodies that recognize the virus but seroconversion—the appearance of detectable amounts of antibody in the blood—takes 6–12 weeks. During the second, symptom-free stage of HIV infection, which can last many years, the virus gradually destroys the immune system so that by the third stage of infection unusual infections (for example, persistent yeast infections) begin to occur. The final stage of infection (AIDS) is characterized by multiple severe infections and by the development of unusual cancers.
Why Was This Study Done?
Antiretroviral drugs control HIV infections but don't cure them. It is very important, therefore, to prevent HIV transmission by avoiding HIV risk behaviors that increase the risk of HIV infection such as having sex without a condom or with many partners. Individuals with AHI in particular need to avoid high-risk behaviors because these people are extremely infectious. However, routine tests for HIV infection that measure antibodies in the blood often give false-negative results in people with AHI because of the time lag between infection and seroconversion. Nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT), which detects HIV genetic material in the blood, is a more accurate way to diagnose AHI but is expensive. In this study, the researchers investigate whether pooled NAAT screening (specimens are pooled before testing to reduce costs) for AHI in clinic settings after third-generation antibody testing is a cost-effective HIV prevention strategy. That is, does the gain in quality-adjusted life years (QALY, a measure of the quantity and quality of life generated by healthcare interventions) achieved by averting new HIV infections outweigh the costs of pooled NAAT screening?
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers combined effectiveness data from a US study in which AHI was detected using pooled NAAT in three settings (sexually transmitted disease [STD] clinics, a community clinic serving men who have sex with men [MSM], and HIV counseling/testing sites) with a “micro-costing” study of NAAT and a mathematical model of HIV transmission. They then calculated the costs per QALY gained (the cost-effectiveness ratio) as a result of HIV prevention by identification and notification of people with AHI through pooled NAAT screening compared with repeat antibody testing. Pooled NAAT for AHI screening following annual antibody testing (the recommended testing interval for high-risk individuals), they estimate, would cost US$372,300 and US$484,400 per QALY gained for the counseling/testing sites and STD clinics, respectively, whereas pooled NAAT for AHI screening was cost-saving for the community clinic serving MSM. The cost-effectiveness ratio increased for the counseling/testing sites and STD clinics when the antibody testing interval was decreased to 6 months but remained cost-saving for the community clinic. With an antibody testing interval of 5 years, pooled NAAT was cost-saving in all three settings.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Cost-effectiveness ratios of US$100,000–US$200,000 are considered acceptable in the US. These results suggest therefore, that the cost of pooled NAAT screening for AHI following negative third-generation antibody testing is not acceptable at the recommended testing interval for high-risk individuals except in settings where HIV infection is very common such as clinics serving MSM. The researchers reach a similar conclusion in a separate cost-effectiveness analysis of pooled NAAT screening following a negative rapid HIV test. Although the accuracy of these results depends on numerous assumptions made in the cost-effectiveness analyses (for example, the degree to which awareness of HIV status affects the behavior of people with AHI), sensitivity analyses (investigations of the effect of altering key assumptions) show that these findings are not greatly affected by changes in many of these assumptions. Thus, the researchers conclude, NAAT screening should be reserved for settings that serve populations in which there are very high levels of new HIV infection.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000342.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on HIV infection and AIDS and on HIV testing and diagnosis
HIV InSite has information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS nonprofit organization on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including HIV testing (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus has links to further resources on AIDS (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence has a page on measuring effectiveness and cost-effectiveness
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000342
PMCID: PMC2946951  PMID: 20927354
3.  Health Benefits and Cost-Effectiveness of Primary Genetic Screening for Lynch Syndrome in the General Population 
In current clinical practice, genetic testing to detect Lynch syndrome mutations ideally begins with diagnostic testing of an individual affected with cancer before offering predictive testing to at-risk relatives. An alternative strategy that warrants exploration involves screening unaffected individuals via demographic and family histories, and offering genetic testing to those individuals whose risks for carrying a mutation exceed a selected threshold. Whether this approach would improve health outcomes in a manner that is cost-effective relative to current standards of care has yet to be demonstrated. To do so, we developed a simulation framework that integrated models of colorectal and endometrial cancers with a 5-generation family history model to predict health and economic outcomes of 20 primary screening strategies (at a wide range of compliance levels) aimed at detecting individuals with mismatch repair gene mutations and their at-risk relatives. These strategies were characterized by (i) different screening ages for starting risk assessment and (ii) different risk thresholds above which to implement genetic testing. For each strategy, 100,000 simulated individuals, representative of the U.S. population, were followed from the age of 20, and the outcomes were compared with current practice. Findings indicated that risk assessment starting at ages 25, 30, or 35, followed by genetic testing of those with mutation risks exceeding 5%, reduced colorectal and endometrial cancer incidence in mutation carriers by approximately 12.4% and 8.8%, respectively. For a population of 100,000 individuals containing 392 mutation carriers, this strategy increased quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) by approximately 135 with an average cost-effectiveness ratio of $26,000 per QALY. The cost-effectiveness of screening for mismatch repair gene mutations is comparable to that of accepted cancer screening activities in the general population such as colorectal cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, and breast cancer screening. These results suggest that primary screening of individuals for mismatch repair gene mutations, starting with risk assessment between the ages of 25 and 35, followed by genetic testing of those whose risk exceeds 5%, is a strategy that could improve health outcomes in a cost-effective manner relative to current practice.
doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-10-0262
PMCID: PMC3793254  PMID: 21088223
4.  Colorectal Cancer Screening for Average-Risk North Americans: An Economic Evaluation 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(11):e1000370.
An economic analysis of different screening methods for detection of colorectal cancers suggests that in US or Canadian settings, screening with fecal immunochemical testing results in lower health-care costs as compared with other screening approaches.
Background
Colorectal cancer (CRC) fulfills the World Health Organization criteria for mass screening, but screening uptake is low in most countries. CRC screening is resource intensive, and it is unclear if an optimal strategy exists. The objective of this study was to perform an economic evaluation of CRC screening in average risk North American individuals considering all relevant screening modalities and current CRC treatment costs.
Methods and Findings
An incremental cost-utility analysis using a Markov model was performed comparing guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) annually, fecal DNA every 3 years, flexible sigmoidoscopy or computed tomographic colonography every 5 years, and colonoscopy every 10 years. All strategies were also compared to a no screening natural history arm. Given that different FIT assays and collection methods have been previously tested, three distinct FIT testing strategies were considered, on the basis of studies that have reported “low,” “mid,” and “high” test performance characteristics for detecting adenomas and CRC. Adenoma and CRC prevalence rates were based on a recent systematic review whereas screening adherence, test performance, and CRC treatment costs were based on publicly available data. The outcome measures included lifetime costs, number of cancers, cancer-related deaths, quality-adjusted life-years gained, and incremental cost-utility ratios. Sensitivity and scenario analyses were performed. Annual FIT, assuming mid-range testing characteristics, was more effective and less costly compared to all strategies (including no screening) except FIT-high. Among the lifetimes of 100,000 average-risk patients, the number of cancers could be reduced from 4,857 to 1,782 and the number of CRC deaths from 1,393 to 457, while saving CAN$68 per person. Although screening patients with FIT became more expensive than a strategy of no screening when the test performance of FIT was reduced, or the cost of managing CRC was lowered (e.g., for jurisdictions that do not fund expensive biologic chemotherapeutic regimens), CRC screening with FIT remained economically attractive.
Conclusions
CRC screening with FIT reduces the risk of CRC and CRC-related deaths, and lowers health care costs in comparison to no screening and to other existing screening strategies. Health policy decision makers should consider prioritizing funding for CRC screening using FIT.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Colorectal (bowel) cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in North America. Colorectal cancer screening is an important means for reducing morbidity and mortality and fulfils the World Health Organization criteria for mass screening. However, a variety of CRC screening approaches are available. Colonoscopy is viewed as the gold standard of colorectal cancer screening as it has a high sensitivity for identifying adenomas and cancer and polyps can be removed during the screening examination. However, colonoscopy is associated with a number of complications and there are also barriers to access. Another type of test, the guaiac fecal occult blood test, has been shown to reduce mortality from colorectal cancer but this test has low sensitivity for identifying colorectal neoplasia, particularly adenomas. Fecal immunochemical tests, which also detect blood in the stool, have improved test performance characteristics (high sensitivity and specificity) and the potential to improve participation rates compared to guaiac fecal occult blood test and flexible sigmoidoscopy. Fecal DNA (a stool test, based on the detection of DNA shed by cancerous tissue) is another screening option, as is computed tomographic colonography (“virtual” colonoscopy), that might rival colonoscopy in detecting advanced adenomas and colorectal cancer but is expensive and requires a full colonic preparation.
Why Was This Study Done?
In the absence of firm comparative evidence to guide the selection of any one screening modality and given the varied test performance characteristics and the significant differences in costs and resources associated with each, a robust cost-effectiveness analysis might help health policy makers in deciding whether or not to offer screening and if so, in selecting the most appropriate and cost effective screening modality. In this study the researchers conducted a full economic evaluation of all relevant colorectal cancer screening modalities in North America.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used an incremental cost-utility analysis, a sophisticated modeling technique, and two hypothetical patient cohorts (individuals with an “average risk,” i.e., no family history of colorectal cancer, aged 50–64 and 65–75) to compare guaiac-based fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test annually (the researchers considered three distinct fecal immunochemical testing strategies on the basis of assays and collection methods taken from studies that have reported “low,” “mid,” and “high” test performance characteristics), fecal DNA every three years, flexible sigmoidoscopy or computed tomographic colonography every 5 years, and colonoscopy every 10 years. The researchers also included a no screening natural history arm as a comparison to each screening approach. For the baseline data of their model, the researchers used adenoma and colorectal prevalence rates from a recent systematic review and based screening adherence, test performance, and colorectal treatment costs on available data. The researchers found that annual fecal immunochemical testing with mid-range testing characteristics, was more effective and less costly compared to all strategies (including no screening). Using this screening modality, among the lifetimes of 100,000 average-risk patients, the number of cancers could be reduced from 4,857 to 1,393 and the number of deaths from colorectal cancer from 1,782 to 457, while saving CAN$68 per person. Although in the sensitivity and scenario analysis, screening patients using fecal immunochemical testing became more expensive than a strategy of no screening when the test performance of fecal immunochemical testing was reduced, or the cost of managing colorectal cancers was lowered, the researchers found that screening for colorectal cancer with fecal immunochemical testing remained the most economically attractive screening option.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This model-based economic analysis found that fecal immunochemical testing is more effective and less costly than all other colorectal screening strategies, including the most commonly-used stool-based screening test, guaiac-based fecal occult blood testing, and no screening. Furthermore, this study suggests that annual screening with fecal immunochemical testing (assuming mid-range test performance characteristics) reduces the risk of colorectal cancer and colorectal cancer–related deaths, and lowers health care costs in comparison to all other screening strategies and to no screening. Therefore, health policy makers should consider prioritizing funding for fecal immunochemical testing as the screening modality for colorectal cancer.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000370.
Cancer.org has information for patients on colorectal cancer
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) list colorectal screening guidelines
The CDC also provides patient information on colorectal cancer Screening
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000370
PMCID: PMC2990704  PMID: 21124887
5.  Screening and Rapid Molecular Diagnosis of Tuberculosis in Prisons in Russia and Eastern Europe: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(11):e1001348.
Daniel Winetsky and colleagues investigate eight strategies for screening and diagnosis of tuberculosis within prisons of the former Soviet Union.
Background
Prisons of the former Soviet Union (FSU) have high rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and are thought to drive general population tuberculosis (TB) epidemics. Effective prison case detection, though employing more expensive technologies, may reduce long-term treatment costs and slow MDR-TB transmission.
Methods and Findings
We developed a dynamic transmission model of TB and drug resistance matched to the epidemiology and costs in FSU prisons. We evaluated eight strategies for TB screening and diagnosis involving, alone or in combination, self-referral, symptom screening, mass miniature radiography (MMR), and sputum PCR with probes for rifampin resistance (Xpert MTB/RIF). Over a 10-y horizon, we projected costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and TB and MDR-TB prevalence. Using sputum PCR as an annual primary screening tool among the general prison population most effectively reduced overall TB prevalence (from 2.78% to 2.31%) and MDR-TB prevalence (from 0.74% to 0.63%), and cost US$543/QALY for additional QALYs gained compared to MMR screening with sputum PCR reserved for rapid detection of MDR-TB. Adding sputum PCR to the currently used strategy of annual MMR screening was cost-saving over 10 y compared to MMR screening alone, but produced only a modest reduction in MDR-TB prevalence (from 0.74% to 0.69%) and had minimal effect on overall TB prevalence (from 2.78% to 2.74%). Strategies based on symptom screening alone were less effective and more expensive than MMR-based strategies. Study limitations included scarce primary TB time-series data in FSU prisons and uncertainties regarding screening test characteristics.
Conclusions
In prisons of the FSU, annual screening of the general inmate population with sputum PCR most effectively reduces TB and MDR-TB prevalence, doing so cost-effectively. If this approach is not feasible, the current strategy of annual MMR is both more effective and less expensive than strategies using self-referral or symptom screening alone, and the addition of sputum PCR for rapid MDR-TB detection may be cost-saving over time.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Tuberculosis (TB)—a contagious bacterial disease—is a major public health problem, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. In 2010, about nine million people developed TB, and about 1.5 million people died from the disease. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB, is spread in airborne droplets when people with active disease cough or sneeze. The characteristic symptoms of TB include fever, a persistent cough, and night sweats. Diagnostic tests include sputum smear microscopy (examination of mucus from the lungs for M. tuberculosis bacilli), mycobacterial culture (growth of M. tuberculosis from sputum), and chest X-rays. TB can also be diagnosed by looking for fragments of the M. tuberculosis genetic blueprint in sputum samples (sputum PCR). Importantly, sputum PCR can detect the genetic changes that make M. tuberculosis resistant to rifampicin, a constituent of the cocktail of antibiotics that is used to cure TB. Rifampicin resistance is an indicator of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), the emergence of which is thwarting ongoing global efforts to control TB.
Why Was This Study Done?
Prisons present unique challenges for TB control. Overcrowding, poor ventilation, and inadequate medical care increase the spread of TB among prisoners, who often come from disadvantaged populations where the prevalence of TB (the proportion of the population with TB) is already high. Prisons also act as reservoirs for TB, recycling the disease back into the civilian population. The prisons of the former Soviet Union, for example, which have extremely high rates of MDR-TB, are thought to drive TB epidemics in the general population. Because effective identification of active TB among prison inmates has the potential to improve TB control outside prisons, the World Health Organization recommends active TB case finding among prisoners using self-referral, screening with symptom questionnaires, or screening with chest X-rays or mass miniature radiography (MMR). But which of these strategies will reduce the prevalence of TB in prisons most effectively, and which is most cost-effective? Here, the researchers evaluate the relative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of alternative strategies for screening and diagnosis of TB in prisons by modeling TB and MDR-TB epidemics in prisons of the former Soviet Union.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a dynamic transmission model of TB that simulates the movement of individuals in prisons in the former Soviet Union through different stages of TB infection to estimate the costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs; a measure of disease burden that includes both the quantity and quality of life) saved, and TB and MDR-TB prevalence for eight TB screening/diagnostic strategies over a ten-year period. Compared to annual MMR alone (the current strategy), annual screening with sputum PCR produced the greatest reduction in the prevalence of TB and of MDR-TB among the prison population. Adding sputum PCR for detection of MDR-TB to annual MMR screening did not affect the overall TB prevalence but slightly reduced the MDR-TB prevalence and saved nearly US$2,000 over ten years per model prison of 1,000 inmates, compared to MMR screening alone. Annual sputum PCR was the most cost-effective strategy, costing US$543/QALY for additional QALYs gained compared to MMR screening plus sputum PCR for MDR-TB detection. Other strategies tested, including symptom screening alone or combined with sputum PCR, were either more expensive and less effective or less cost-effective than these two options.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, in prisons in the former Soviet Union, annual screening with sputum PCR will most effectively reduce TB and MDR-TB prevalence and will be cost-effective. That is, the cost per QALY saved of this strategy is less than the per-capita gross domestic product of any of the former Soviet Union countries. The paucity of primary data on some facets of TB epidemiology in prisons in the former Soviet Union and the assumptions built into the mathematical model limit the accuracy of these findings. Moreover, because most of the benefits of sputum PCR screening come from treating the MDR-TB cases that are detected using this screening approach, these findings cannot be generalized to prison settings without a functioning MDR-TB treatment program or with a very low MDR-TB prevalence. Despite these and other limitations, these findings provide valuable information about the screening strategies that are most likely to interrupt the TB cycle in prisons, thereby saving resources and averting preventable deaths both inside and outside prisons.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001348.
The World Health Organization provides information (in several languages) on all aspects of tuberculosis, including general information on tuberculosis diagnostics and on tuberculosis in prisons; a report published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization in 2006 describes tough measures taken in Russian prisons to slow the spread of TB
The Stop TB Partnership is working towards tuberculosis elimination; patient stories about tuberculosis are available (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about tuberculosis, about its diagnosis, and about tuberculosis in prisons (some information in English and Spanish)
A PLOS Medicine Research Article by Iacapo Baussano et al. describes a systematic review of tuberculosis incidence in prisons; a linked editorial entitled The Health Crisis of Tuberculosis in Prisons Extends beyond the Prison Walls is also available
The Tuberculosis Survival Project, which aims to raise awareness of tuberculosis and provide support for people with tuberculosis, provides personal stories about treatment for tuberculosis; the Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative also provides personal stories about dealing with tuberculosis
MedlinePlus has links to further information about tuberculosis (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001348
PMCID: PMC3507963  PMID: 23209384
6.  Cost-effectiveness of MRI compared to mammography for breast cancer screening in a high risk population 
Background
Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a sensitive method of breast imaging virtually uninfluenced by breast density. Because of the improved sensitivity, breast MRI is increasingly being used for detection of breast cancer among high risk young women. However, the specificity of breast MRI is variable and costs are high. The purpose of this study was to determine if breast MRI is a cost-effective approach for the detection of breast cancer among young women at high risk.
Methods
A Markov model was created to compare annual breast cancer screening over 25 years with either breast MRI or mammography among young women at high risk. Data from published studies provided probabilities for the model including sensitivity and specificity of each screening strategy. Costs were based on Medicare reimbursement rates for hospital and physician services while medication costs were obtained from the Federal Supply Scale. Utilities from the literature were applied to each health outcome in the model including a disutility for the temporary health state following breast biopsy for a false positive test result. All costs and benefits were discounted at 5% per year. The analysis was performed from the payer perspective with results reported in 2006 U.S. dollars. Univariate and probabilistic sensitivity analyses addressed uncertainty in all model parameters.
Results
Breast MRI provided 14.1 discounted quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) at a discounted cost of $18,167 while mammography provided 14.0 QALYs at a cost of $4,760 over 25 years of screening. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of breast MRI compared to mammography was $179,599/QALY. In univariate analysis, breast MRI screening became < $50,000/QALY when the cost of the MRI was < $315. In the probabilistic sensitivity analysis, MRI screening produced a net health benefit of -0.202 QALYs (95% central range: -0.767 QALYs to +0.439 QALYs) compared to mammography at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $50,000/QALY. Breast MRI screening was superior in 0%, < $50,000/QALY in 22%, > $50,000/QALY in 34%, and inferior in 44% of trials.
Conclusion
Although breast MRI may provide health benefits when compared to mammographic screening for some high risk women, it does not appear to be cost-effective even at willingness to pay thresholds above $120,000/QALY.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-9
PMCID: PMC2630922  PMID: 19144138
7.  A Cost-Utility Analysis of Lung Cancer Screening and the Additional Benefits of Incorporating Smoking Cessation Interventions 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71379.
Background
A 2011 report from the National Lung Screening Trial indicates that three annual low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screenings for lung cancer reduced lung cancer mortality by 20% compared to chest X-ray among older individuals at high risk for lung cancer. Discussion has shifted from clinical proof to financial feasibility. The goal of this study was to determine whether LDCT screening for lung cancer in a commercially-insured population (aged 50–64) at high risk for lung cancer is cost-effective and to quantify the additional benefits of incorporating smoking cessation interventions in a lung cancer screening program.
Methods and Findings
The current study builds upon a previous simulation model to estimate the cost-utility of annual, repeated LDCT screenings over 15 years in a high risk hypothetical cohort of 18 million adults between age 50 and 64 with 30+ pack-years of smoking history. In the base case, the lung cancer screening intervention cost $27.8 billion over 15 years and yielded 985,284 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained for a cost-utility ratio of $28,240 per QALY gained. Adding smoking cessation to these annual screenings resulted in increases in both the costs and QALYs saved, reflected in cost-utility ratios ranging from $16,198 per QALY gained to $23,185 per QALY gained. Annual LDCT lung cancer screening in this high risk population remained cost-effective across all sensitivity analyses.
Conclusions
The findings of this study indicate that repeat annual lung cancer screening in a high risk cohort of adults aged 50–64 is highly cost-effective. Offering smoking cessation interventions with the annual screening program improved the cost-effectiveness of lung cancer screening between 20% and 45%. The cost-utility ratios estimated in this study were in line with other accepted cancer screening interventions and support inclusion of annual LDCT screening for lung cancer in a high risk population in clinical recommendations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071379
PMCID: PMC3737088  PMID: 23940744
8.  Cost-utility of an 8-month aquatic training for women with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial 
Introduction
Physical therapy in warm water has been effective and highly recommended for persons with fibromyalgia, but its efficiency remains largely unknown. Should patients or health care managers invest in this therapy? The aim of the current study was to assess the cost-utility of adding an aquatic exercise programme to the usual care of women with fibromyalgia.
Methods
Costs to the health care system and to society were considered in this study that included 33 participants, randomly assigned to the experimental group (n = 17) or a control group (n = 16). The intervention in the experimental group consisted of a 1-h, supervised, water-based exercise sessions, three times per week for 8 months. The main outcome measures were the health care costs and the number of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) using the time trade-off elicitation technique from the EuroQol EQ-5D instrument. Sensitivity analyses were performed for variations in staff salary, number of women attending sessions and time spent going to the pool. The cost effectiveness acceptability curves were created using a non-parametric bootstrap technique.
Results
The mean incremental treatment costs exceeded those for usual care per patient by € 517 for health care costs and € 1,032 for societal costs. The mean incremental QALY associated with the intervention was 0.131 (95% CI: 0.011 to 0.290). Each QALY gained in association with the exercise programme cost an additional € 3,947/QALY (95% CI: 1,782 to 47,000) for a health care perspective and € 7,878/QALY (3,559 to 93,818) from a societal perspective. The curves showed a 95% probability that the addition of the water-based programme is a cost-effective strategy if the ceiling of inversion is € 14,200/QALY from a health care perspective and € 28,300/QALY from a societal perspective.
Conclusion
The addition of an aquatic exercise programme to the usual care regime for fibromyalgia in women is cost effective in terms of both health care costs and societal costs. However, the characteristics of facilities (distance from the patients' homes and number of patients that can be accommodated per session) are major determinants to consider before investing in such a programme.
Trial registration
Current controlled trials ISRCTN53367487.
doi:10.1186/ar2377
PMCID: PMC2374450  PMID: 18294367
9.  Visual Screening for Malignant Melanoma 
Archives of dermatology  2007;143(1):21-28.
Objective
To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of various melanoma screening strategies proposed in the United States.
Design
We developed a computer simulation Markov model to evaluate alternative melanoma screening strategies.
Participants
Hypothetical cohort of the general population and siblings of patients with melanoma.
Intervention
We considered the following 4 strategies: background screening only, and screening 1 time, every 2 years, and annually, all beginning at age 50 years. Prevalence, incidence, and mortality data were taken from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. Sibling risk, recurrence rates, and treatment costs were taken from the literature.
Main Outcome Measures
Outcomes included life expectancy, quality-adjusted life expectancy, and lifetime costs. Cost-effectiveness ratios were in dollars per quality-adjusted life year ($/QALY) gained.
Results
In the general population, screening 1 time, every 2 years, and annually saved 1.6, 4.4, and 5.2 QALYs per 1000 persons screened, with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of $10 100/QALY, $80 700/QALY, and $586 800/QALY, respectively. In siblings of patients with melanoma (relative risk, 2.24 compared with the general population), 1-time, every-2-years, and annual screenings saved 3.6, 9.8, and 11.4 QALYs per 1000 persons screened, with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of $4000/QALY, $35 500/QALY, and $257 800/QALY, respectively. In higher risk siblings of patients with melanoma (relative risk, 5.56), screening was more cost-effective. Results were most sensitive to screening cost, melanoma progression rate, and specificity of visual screening.
Conclusions
One-time melanoma screening of the general population older than 50 years is very cost-effective compared with other cancer screening programs in the United States. Screening every 2 years in siblings of patients with melanoma is also cost-effective.
doi:10.1001/archderm.143.1.21
PMCID: PMC2365732  PMID: 17224538
10.  Health and Economic Implications of HPV Vaccination in the United States 
The New England journal of medicine  2008;359(8):821-832.
BACKGROUND
The cost-effectiveness of prophylactic vaccination against human papillomavirus types 16 (HPV-16) and 18 (HPV-18) is an important consideration for guidelines for immunization in the United States.
METHODS
We synthesized epidemiologic and demographic data using models of HPV-16 and HPV-18 transmission and cervical carcinogenesis to compare the health and economic outcomes of vaccinating preadolescent girls (at 12 years of age) and vaccinating older girls and women in catch-up programs (to 18, 21, or 26 years of age). We examined the health benefits of averting other HPV-16–related and HPV-18–related cancers, the prevention of HPV-6–related and HPV-11–related genital warts and juvenile-onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis by means of the quadrivalent vaccine, the duration of immunity, and future screening practices.
RESULTS
On the assumption that the vaccine provided lifelong immunity, the cost-effectiveness ratio of vaccination of 12-year-old girls was $43,600 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained, as compared with the current screening practice. Under baseline assumptions, the cost-effectiveness ratio for extending a temporary catch-up program for girls to 18 years of age was $97,300 per QALY; the cost of extending vaccination of girls and women to the age of 21 years was $120,400 per QALY, and the cost for extension to the age of 26 years was $152,700 per QALY. The results were sensitive to the duration of vaccine-induced immunity; if immunity waned after 10 years, the cost of vaccination of preadolescent girls exceeded $140,000 per QALY, and catch-up strategies were less cost-effective than screening alone. The cost-effectiveness ratios for vaccination strategies were more favorable if the benefits of averting other health conditions were included or if screening was delayed and performed at less frequent intervals and with more sensitive tests; they were less favorable if vaccinated girls were preferentially screened more frequently in adulthood.
CONCLUSIONS
The cost-effectiveness of HPV vaccination will depend on the duration of vaccine immunity and will be optimized by achieving high coverage in preadolescent girls, targeting initial catch-up efforts to women up to 18 or 21 years of age, and revising screening policies.
doi:10.1056/NEJMsa0707052
PMCID: PMC3080183  PMID: 18716299
11.  Cost-Effectiveness of Treatment Strategies for BRAF-Mutated Metastatic Melanoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107255.
Purpose
Genetically-targeted therapies are both promising and costly advances in the field of oncology. Several treatments for metastatic melanoma with a mutation in the BRAF gene have been approved. They extend life but are more expensive than the previous standard of care (dacarbazine). Vemurafenib, the first drug in this class, costs $13,000 per month ($207,000 for a patient with median survival). Patients failing vemurafenib are often given ipilimumab, an immunomodulator, at $150,000 per course. Assessment of cost-effectiveness is a valuable tool to help navigate the transition toward targeted cancer therapy.
Methods
We performed a cost-utility analysis to compare three strategies for patients with BRAF+ metastatic melanoma using a deterministic expected-value decision tree model to calculate the present value of lifetime costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for each strategy. We performed sensitivity analyses on all variables.
Results
In the base case, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for vemurafenib compared with dacarbazine was $353,993 per QALY gained (0.42 QALYs added, $156,831 added). The ICER for vemurafenib followed by ipilimumab compared with vemurafenib alone was $158,139. In sensitivity analysis, treatment cost had the largest influence on results: the ICER for vemurafenib versus dacarbazine dropped to $100,000 per QALY gained with a treatment cost of $3600 per month.
Conclusion
The cost per QALY gained for treatment of BRAF+ metastatic melanoma with vemurafenib alone or in combination exceeds widely-cited thresholds for cost-effectiveness. These strategies may become cost-effective with lower drug prices or confirmation of a durable response without continued treatment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107255
PMCID: PMC4157865  PMID: 25198196
12.  The economic benefit of hip replacement: a 5-year follow-up of costs and outcomes in the Exeter Primary Outcomes Study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e000752.
Objectives
To assess changes in quality of life and costs of patients undergoing primary total hip replacement using the Exeter prosthesis compared with a hypothetical ‘no surgery’ group.
Design
The incremental quality of life, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and cost of Exeter Primary Outcomes Study patients was compared with hypothetical ‘no surgery’ group over 5 years. Scores from annual SF-36 assessments were converted into utility scores using an established algorithm and the QALY gains calculated from pre-operative baseline scores. Costs included implant costs and length of stay.
Setting
Secondary care hospitals.
Participants
Patients receiving a primary Exeter implant enrolled in five of seven Exeter Primary Outcomes Study centres.
Results
On average, patients gained around 0.8 QALYs over 5 years. Younger and male patients or those with lower body mass index and poorer Oxford Hip Scores were significantly associated with increased QALYs. Treatment costs for a primary episode of care were just over £5000 (95% CI £4588 to £5812) per patient. Compared with ‘no surgery’, the cost per QALY was £7182 (95% CI £6470 to £7678), and this remained stable when key cost parameters were varied. The most likely cost per QALY was between £7058 and £7220. Older patients (age 75+) cost more, mainly due to longer average hospital stays and had a higher cost per QALY, although this remained below £10 000.
Conclusions
85% of cases had a cost of <£20 000 per QALY (with 70% having a cost per QALY under £10 000) compared with no surgery. Cases would be considered cost-effective under currently accepted thresholds (£25 000–£30 000) compared with ‘no surgery’. However, depending on age and severity, younger patients and more severe patients had below average cost per QALYs. These results help to confirm the long-term benefits and cost-effectiveness of total hip replacement in a wide variety of patients using well-established implant models such as the Exeter. However, further and ongoing economic appraisal of this and other models is required for comparative purposes.
Article summary
Article focus
The cost-effectiveness of the Exeter THR compared with no treatment.
The quality of life gain and incremental number of QALYs gained and cost.
The cost per QALY by age, sex, OHS and BMI.
Key messages
There have been few good prospective economic evaluations of THR that measure quality of life, preoperative severity of disease and control for prosthesis type.
THR in EPOS patients was found to be cost-effective (compared with no treatment). Cost per QALY was below the accepted NICE threshold in all groups and under all sensitivity assumptions.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Longer term follow-up of patients is advantageous in assessing the economic benefits of THR and this study was exceptional for the length of time in which this was possible.
The hypothetical control group could provide only an indirect comparison with other interventions and prostheses but a sound new estimate of the absolute cost-effectiveness of THR.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000752
PMCID: PMC3367151  PMID: 22637375
13.  One-year mortality, quality of life and predicted life-time cost-utility in critically ill patients with acute respiratory failure 
Critical Care  2010;14(2):R60.
Introduction
High daily intensive care unit (ICU) costs are associated with the use of mechanical ventilation (MV) to treat acute respiratory failure (ARF), and assessment of quality of life (QOL) after critical illness and cost-effectiveness analyses are warranted.
Methods
Nationwide, prospective multicentre observational study in 25 Finnish ICUs. During an eight-week study period 958 consecutive adult ICU patients were treated with ventilatory support over 6 hours. Of those 958, 619 (64.6%) survived one year, of whom 288 (46.5%) answered the quality of life questionnaire (EQ-5D). We calculated EQ-5D index and predicted lifetime quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained using the age- and sex-matched life expectancy for survivors after one year. For expired patients the exact lifetime was used. We divided all hospital costs for all ARF patients by the number of hospital survivors, and by all predicted lifetime QALYs. We also adjusted for those who died before one year and for those with missing QOL to be able to estimate the total QALYs.
Results
One-year mortality was 35% (95% CI 32 to 38%). For the 288 respondents median [IQR] EQ-5D index after one year was lower than that of the age- and sex-matched general population 0.70 [0.45 to 0.89] vs. 0.84 [0.81 to 0.88]. For these 288, the mean (SD) predicted lifetime QALYs was 15.4 (13.3). After adjustment for missing QOL the mean predicted lifetime (SD) QALYs was 11.3 (13.0) for all the 958 ARF patients. The mean estimated costs were 20.739 € per hospital survivor, and mean predicted lifetime cost-utility for all ARF patients was 1391 € per QALY.
Conclusions
Despite lower health-related QOL compared to reference values, our result suggests that cost per hospital survivor and lifetime cost-utility remain reasonable regardless of age, disease severity, and type or duration of ventilation support in patients with ARF.
doi:10.1186/cc8957
PMCID: PMC2887181  PMID: 20384998
14.  Cost-Effectiveness of Alternating MRI and Digital Mammography Screening in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Gene Mutation Carriers 
Cancer  2012;119(6):1266-1276.
Background
Current clinical guidelines recommend earlier, more intensive breast cancer screening with both MRI and mammography for women with BRCA mutations. Unspecified details of screening schedules are a challenge for implementing guidelines.
Methods
A Markov Monte Carlo computer model simulated screening in asymptomatic female BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. Three dual-modality strategies were compared with digital mammography (DM) alone: 1) DM and MRI alternating at 6-month intervals beginning at age 25 [Alt25], 2) annual MRI beginning at age 25 with alternating DM added at age 30 [MRI25/Alt30], and 3) DM and MRI alternating at 6-month intervals beginning at age 30 [Alt30]. Primary outcomes were quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), lifetime costs (in 2010 USD), and incremental cost-effectiveness ($/QALY gained). Additional outcomes included potential harms of screening, and lifetime costs stratified into component categories (screening and diagnosis, treatment, mortality, and patient time costs).
Results
All three dual-modality screening strategies increased QALYs and costs. Alt30 screening had the lowest incremental costs per additional QALY gained: (BRCA1: $74,200/QALY; BRCA2: $215,700/QALY). False-positive test results increased substantially with dual-modality screening, occurring more frequently in BRCA2 carriers. Downstream savings in both breast cancer treatment and mortality costs were outweighed by increases in up-front screening and diagnosis costs. Results were most influenced by estimates of breast cancer risk and MRI cost.
Conclusions
Alternating MRI and DM screening at 6-month intervals beginning at age 30 is a clinically effective approach to applying current guidelines, and is more cost-effective in BRCA1 compared with BRCA2 gene mutation carriers.
doi:10.1002/cncr.27864
PMCID: PMC3586945  PMID: 23184400
BRCA1 gene; BRCA2 gene; breast neoplasms; cancer screening; cost effectiveness
15.  Cryptococcal Meningitis Treatment Strategies in Resource-Limited Settings: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(9):e1001316.
David Boulware and colleagues assess the cost effectiveness of different treatment strategies in low- and middle-income countries for cryptococcal meningitis, one of the most common opportunistic infections of people with HIV.
Background
Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is the most common form of meningitis in Africa. World Health Organization guidelines recommend 14-d amphotericin-based induction therapy; however, this is impractical for many resource-limited settings due to cost and intensive monitoring needs. A cost-effectiveness analysis was performed to guide stakeholders with respect to optimal CM treatment within resource limitations.
Methods and Findings:
We conducted a decision analysis to estimate the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of six CM induction regimens: fluconazole (800–1,200 mg/d) monotherapy, fluconazole + flucytosine (5FC), short-course amphotericin (7-d) + fluconazole, 14-d of amphotericin alone, amphotericin + fluconazole, and amphotericin + 5FC. We computed actual 2012 healthcare costs in Uganda for medications, supplies, and personnel, and average laboratory costs for three African countries. A systematic review of cryptococcal treatment trials in resource-limited areas summarized 10-wk survival outcomes. We modeled one-year survival based on South African, Ugandan, and Thai CM outcome data, and survival beyond one-year on Ugandan and Thai data. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were determined and used to calculate the cost-effectiveness ratio and ICER. The cost of hospital care ranged from $154 for fluconazole monotherapy to $467 for 14 d of amphotericin + 5FC. Based on 18 studies investigating outcomes for HIV-infected individuals with CM in resource-limited settings, the estimated mean one-year survival was lowest for fluconazole monotherapy, at 40%. The cost-effectiveness ratio ranged from $20 to $44 per QALY. Overall, amphotericin-based regimens had higher costs but better survival. Short-course amphotericin (1 mg/kg/d for 7 d) with fluconazole (1,200 mg/d for14 d) had the best one-year survival (66%) and the most favorable cost-effectiveness ratio, at $20.24/QALY, with an ICER of $15.11 per additional QALY over fluconazole monotherapy. The main limitation of this study is the pooled nature of a systematic review, with a paucity of outcome data with direct comparisons between regimens.
Conclusions
Short-course (7-d) amphotericin induction therapy coupled with high-dose (1,200 mg/d) fluconazole is “very cost effective” per World Health Organization criteria and may be a worthy investment for policy-makers seeking cost-effective clinical outcomes. More head-to-head clinical trials are needed on treatments for this neglected tropical disease.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Editors' Summary
Background
Cryptococcal meningitis, a fungal infection of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord, affects about a million people every year (most of them living in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia) and kills about 640,000 people annually. People become infected with Cryptococcus neoformans, the fungus that causes cryptococcal meningitis and which is found in soil and dirt, by breathing it in. In healthy individuals, infection rarely causes disease. But in people living with AIDS, whose immune system has been damaged by HIV infection, and in people whose immune system is compromised for other reasons, the fungus can invade and damage many organs, including the brain. Cryptococcal meningitis, the symptoms of which include fever, stiff neck, headache, and vomiting, is diagnosed by looking for the fungus in fluid taken from the spinal cord in a procedure called a lumbar puncture. Cryptococcal meningitis is treated with antifungal drugs such as amphotericin, fluconazole, and flucytosine (induction therapy); recurrence of the infection is prevented by taking fluconazole daily for life or until the immune system recovers.
Why Was This Study Done?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a 14-day regimen of intravenous (injected) amphotericin and oral flucytosine or fluconazole for induction therapy of cryptococcal meningitis. Unfortunately, this regimen is impractical in many resource-limited settings because of the cost of the drugs and hospital care and the need for intensive monitoring—amphotericin is extremely toxic. Consequently, high-dose fluconazole monotherapy is the usual treatment for cryptococcal meningitis in resource-limited countries, although this regimen is much less effective. Another regimen that has improved survival in trials is flucytosine with fluconazole for two weeks. However, flucytosine is very expensive and is not licensed in most sub-Saharan African countries. Stakeholders in developing countries badly need guidance, therefore, on which induction treatment for cryptococcal meningitis they should recommend to optimize outcomes in their particular countries. In this cost-effectiveness analysis (a study that compares the costs and health effects of different interventions), the researchers use costs in Uganda to estimate the survival, cost, and cost per benefit associated with various induction treatments for cryptococcal meningitis in HIV-infected patients.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers calculated the overall cost of six induction treatments using 2012 healthcare costs in Uganda for medications, supplies, and hospital care, and average laboratory costs for monitoring treatment from three African countries. They used data from published trials of cryptococcal meningitis treatment in resource-limited areas to estimate ten-week and one-year survival, life expectancy, and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs, the number of years of life added by an intervention, adjusted for the quality of life) for each intervention. Finally, they calculated the cost-effectiveness ratio (cost per QALY gained) and the incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER, the additional cost of a treatment strategy compared to fluconazole monotherapy divided by the incremental improvement in QALYs) for each intervention. The estimated costs per person for each induction treatment strategy ranged from US$154 for 14 days of fluconazole monotherapy to US$467 for 14 days of amphotericin plus flucytosine. Estimated average one-year survival was lowest for fluconazole (40%) and highest for short-course (seven days) amphotericin plus 14 days of fluconazole (66%), similar to other amphotericin-based treatments. Cost-effectiveness ratios ranged from US$20 per QALY for short-course amphotericin plus fluconazole to US$44 per QALY for 14 days of amphotericin plus flucytosine. Short-course amphotericin plus fluconazole had the lowest ICER (US$15.11 per additional QALY over fluconazole monotherapy).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, among the treatments investigated, a seven-day course of amphotericin with high-dose fluconazole for at least two weeks is the most cost-effective induction treatment for cryptococcal meningitis in Uganda. Although this result should be generalizable to other African countries, it needs to be treated with caution because very few trials have actually looked at the clinical effectiveness of this particular regimen. While short short-course amphotericin appears to be substantially more effective than fluconazole monotherapy, large-scale trials comparing short-course amphotericin regimens with more traditional 14-day regimens in resource-limited countries must be undertaken before short-course amphotericin-based treatments are adopted. Notably, however, if these trials confirm that survival with short-course amphotericin with fluconazole is about 30% better than with fluconazole alone, the researchers calculate that moving to short-course amphotericin could save about 150,000 lives every year in sub-Saharan Africa at a cost of US$220 per life saved.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001316.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Andrew Farlow
Preventcrypto.org provides a clearinghouse for updated guidelines for cryptococcal diagnosis and treatment.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on Cryptococcus neoformans and a training manual called the Cryptococcal Screening Program Training Manual for Healthcare Providers
NAM/aidsmap provides information about all aspects of infection with Cryptococcus neoformans, including a personal story about cryptococcal meningitis
AIDS InfoNet has a fact sheet on cryptococcal meningitis (in several languages)
The not-for-profit organization Project Inform, which provides information, inspiration, and advocacy for people with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C (in English and Spanish), has a fact sheet on cryptococcal meningitis
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on cryptococcal meningitis (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001316
PMCID: PMC3463510  PMID: 23055838
16.  Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an awareness campaign for colorectal cancer: a mathematical modeling study 
Cancer Causes & Control  2014;25(6):647-658.
Background
A campaign to increase the awareness of the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer (CRC) and encourage self-presentation to a GP was piloted in two regions of England in 2011. Short-term data from the pilot evaluation on campaign cost and changes in GP attendances/referrals, CRC incidence, and CRC screening uptake were available. The objective was to estimate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a CRC awareness campaign by using a mathematical model which extrapolates short-term outcomes to predict long-term impacts on cancer mortality, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and costs.
Methods
A mathematical model representing England (aged 30+) for a lifetime horizon was developed. Long-term changes to cancer incidence, cancer stage distribution, cancer mortality, and QALYs were estimated. Costs were estimated incorporating costs associated with delivering the campaign, additional GP attendances, and changes in CRC treatment.
Results
Data from the pilot campaign suggested that the awareness campaign caused a 1-month 10 % increase in presentation rates. Based on this, the model predicted the campaign to cost £5.5 million, prevent 66 CRC deaths and gain 404 QALYs. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio compared to “no campaign” was £13,496 per QALY. Results were sensitive to the magnitude and duration of the increase in presentation rates and to disease stage.
Conclusions
The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a cancer awareness campaign can be estimated based on short-term data. Such predictions will aid policy makers in prioritizing between cancer control strategies. Future cost-effectiveness studies would benefit from campaign evaluations reporting as follows: data completeness, duration of impact, impact on emergency presentations, and comparison with non-intervention regions.
doi:10.1007/s10552-014-0366-6
PMCID: PMC4018507  PMID: 24682722
Colorectal cancer; Awareness campaign; Early diagnosis; Cost-effectiveness
17.  HIV Screening via Fourth-Generation Immunoassay or Nucleic Acid Amplification Test in the United States: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27625.
Background
At least 10% of the 56,000 annual new HIV infections in the United States are caused by individuals with acute HIV infection (AHI). It unknown whether the health benefits and costs of routine nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) are justified, given the availability of newer fourth-generation immunoassay tests.
Methods
Using a dynamic HIV transmission model instantiated with U.S. epidemiologic, demographic, and behavioral data, I estimated the number of acute infections identified, HIV infections prevented, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained, and the cost-effectiveness of alternative screening strategies. I varied the target population (everyone aged 15-64, injection drug users [IDUs] and men who have sex with men [MSM], or MSM only), screening frequency (annually, or every six months), and test(s) utilized (fourth-generation immunoassay only, or immunoassay followed by pooled NAAT).
Results
Annual immunoassay testing of MSM reduces incidence by 9.5% and costs <$10,000 per QALY gained. Adding pooled NAAT identifies 410 AHI per year, prevents 9.6% of new cases, costs $92,000 per QALY gained, and remains <$100,000 per QALY gained in settings where undiagnosed HIV prevalence exceeds 4%. Screening IDUs and MSM annually with fourth-generation immunoassay reduces incidence by 13% with cost-effectiveness <$10,000 per QALY gained. Increasing the screening frequency to every six months reduces incidence by 11% (MSM only) or 16% (MSM and IDUs) and costs <$20,000 per QALY gained.
Conclusions
Pooled NAAT testing every 12 months of MSM and IDUs in the United States prevents a modest number of infections, but may be cost-effective given sufficiently high HIV prevalence levels. However, testing via fourth-generation immunoassay every six months prevents a greater number of infections, is more economically efficient, and may obviate the benefits of acute HIV screening via NAAT.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027625
PMCID: PMC3218000  PMID: 22110698
18.  Population based screening for chronic kidney disease: cost effectiveness study 
Objective To determine the cost effectiveness of one-off population based screening for chronic kidney disease based on estimated glomerular filtration rate.
Design Cost utility analysis of screening with estimated glomerular filtration rate alone compared with no screening (with allowance for incidental finding of cases of chronic kidney disease). Analyses were stratified by age, diabetes, and the presence or absence of proteinuria. Scenario and sensitivity analyses, including probabilistic sensitivity analysis, were performed. Costs were estimated in all adults and in subgroups defined by age, diabetes, and hypertension.
Setting Publicly funded Canadian healthcare system.
Participants Large population based laboratory cohort used to estimate mortality rates and incidence of end stage renal disease for patients with chronic kidney disease over a five year follow-up period. Patients had not previously undergone assessment of glomerular filtration rate.
Main outcome measures Lifetime costs, end stage renal disease, quality adjusted life years (QALYs) gained, and incremental cost per QALY gained.
Results Compared with no screening, population based screening for chronic kidney disease was associated with an incremental cost of $C463 (Canadian dollars in 2009; equivalent to about £275, €308, US $382) and a gain of 0.0044 QALYs per patient overall, representing a cost per QALY gained of $C104 900. In a cohort of 100 000 people, screening for chronic kidney disease would be expected to reduce the number of people who develop end stage renal disease over their lifetime from 675 to 657. In subgroups of people with and without diabetes, the cost per QALY gained was $C22 600 and $C572 000, respectively. In a cohort of 100 000 people with diabetes, screening would be expected to reduce the number of people who develop end stage renal disease over their lifetime from 1796 to 1741. In people without diabetes with and without hypertension, the cost per QALY gained was $C334 000 and $C1 411 100, respectively.
Conclusions Population based screening for chronic kidney disease with assessment of estimated glomerular filtration rate is not cost effective overall or in subgroups of people with hypertension or older people. Targeted screening of people with diabetes is associated with a cost per QALY that is similar to that accepted in other interventions funded by public healthcare systems.
doi:10.1136/bmj.c5869
PMCID: PMC2975430  PMID: 21059726
19.  Economic Appraisal of Ontario's Universal Influenza Immunization Program: A Cost-Utility Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(4):e1000256.
Beate Sander and colleagues assess the cost-effectiveness of the program that provides free seasonal influenza vaccines to the entire population of Ontario, Canada.
Background
In July 2000, the province of Ontario, Canada, initiated a universal influenza immunization program (UIIP) to provide free seasonal influenza vaccines for the entire population. This is the first large-scale program of its kind worldwide. The objective of this study was to conduct an economic appraisal of Ontario's UIIP compared to a targeted influenza immunization program (TIIP).
Methods and Findings
A cost-utility analysis using Ontario health administrative data was performed. The study was informed by a companion ecological study comparing physician visits, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths between 1997 and 2004 in Ontario and nine other Canadian provinces offering targeted immunization programs. The relative change estimates from pre-2000 to post-2000 as observed in other provinces were applied to pre-UIIP Ontario event rates to calculate the expected number of events had Ontario continued to offer targeted immunization. Main outcome measures were quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), costs in 2006 Canadian dollars, and incremental cost-utility ratios (incremental cost per QALY gained). Program and other costs were drawn from Ontario sources. Utility weights were obtained from the literature. The incremental cost of the program per QALY gained was calculated from the health care payer perspective. Ontario's UIIP costs approximately twice as much as a targeted program but reduces influenza cases by 61% and mortality by 28%, saving an estimated 1,134 QALYs per season overall. Reducing influenza cases decreases health care services cost by 52%. Most cost savings can be attributed to hospitalizations avoided. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio is Can$10,797/QALY gained. Results are most sensitive to immunization cost and number of deaths averted.
Conclusions
Universal immunization against seasonal influenza was estimated to be an economically attractive intervention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Annual outbreaks (epidemics) of influenza—a viral disease of the nose, throat, and airways—make millions of people ill and kill about 500,000 individuals every year. In doing so, they impose a considerable economic burden on society in terms of health care costs and lost productivity. Influenza epidemics occur because small but frequent changes in the viral proteins to which the immune system responds mean that an immune response produced one year by exposure to an influenza virus provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. Annual immunization with a vaccine that contains killed influenza viruses of the major circulating strains can boost this natural immunity and greatly reduce a person's chances of catching influenza. Consequently, many countries run seasonal influenza vaccine programs. These programs usually target people at high risk of complications from influenza and individuals likely to come into close contact with them, and people who provide essential community services. So, for example, in most Canadian provinces, targeted influenza immunization programs (TIIPs) offer free influenza vaccinations to people aged 65 years or older, to people with chronic medical conditions, and to health care workers.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some experts argue, however, that universal vaccination might provide populations with better protection from influenza. In 2000, the province of Ontario in Canada decided, therefore, to introduce a universal influenza immunization program (UIIP) to provide free influenza vaccination to everyone older than 6 months, the first large program of this kind in the world. A study published in 2008 showed that, following the introduction of the UIIP, vaccination rates in Ontario increased more than in other Canadian provinces. In addition, deaths from influenza and influenza-related use of health care facilities decreased more in Ontario than in provinces that continued to offer a TIIP. But is universal influenza vaccination good value for money? In this study, the researchers evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the Ontario UIIP by comparing the health outcomes and costs associated with its introduction with the health outcomes and costs associated with a hypothetical continuation of targeted influenza immunization.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used data on TIIP and UIIP vaccine uptake, physician visits, emergency department visits, hospitalizations for influenza, and deaths from influenza between 1997 and 2004 in Ontario and in nine Canadian states offering TIIPs, and Ontario cost data, in their “cost-utility” analysis. This type of analysis estimates the additional cost required to generate a year of perfect health (a quality-adjusted life-year or QALY) through the introduction of an intervention. QALYs are calculated by multiplying the time spent in a certain health state by a measure of the quality of that health state. The researchers report that the cost of Ontario's UIIP was about twice as much as the cost of a TIIP for the province. However, the introduction of the UIIP reduced the number of influenza cases by nearly two-thirds and reduced deaths from influenza by more than a quarter compared with what would have been expected had the province continued to offer a TIIP, an overall saving of 1,134 QALYs. Furthermore, the reduction in influenza cases halved influenza-related health care costs, mainly because of reductions in hospitalization. Overall, this means that the additional cost to Ontario of saving one QALY through the introduction of the UIIP was Can$10,797, an “incremental cost-effectiveness ratio” of $10,797 per QALY gained.
What Do These Findings Mean?
In Canada, an intervention is considered cost-effective from the point of view of a health care purchaser if it costs less than Canadian $50,000 to gain one QALY. These findings indicate, therefore, that for Ontario the introduction of the UIIP is economically attractive. Indeed, the researchers calculate that even if the costs of the UIIP were to double, the additional cost of saving one QALY by introducing universal immunization would remain below $50,000. Other “sensitivity” analyses undertaken by the researchers also indicate that universal immunization is likely to be effective and cost-effective in Ontario if other key assumptions and/or data included in the calculations are varied within reasonable limits. Given these findings, the researchers suggest that a UIIP might be an appealing intervention in other Canadian provinces and in other high-income countries where influenza transmission and health-care costs are broadly similar to those in Ontario.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000256.
A PLoS Medicine Research Article by Kwong and colleagues describes how the introduction of universal influenza immunization in Ontario altered influenza-related health care use and deaths in the province
Wikipedia pages are available on QALYs and on cost-utility analysis (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
Bandolier, an independent online journal about evidence-based health-care, provides information about QALYs and their use in cost-utility analysis
The UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has a webpage on Measuring effectiveness and cost-effectiveness: the QALY
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000256
PMCID: PMC2850382  PMID: 20386727
20.  Population based cost utility study of interferon beta-1b in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1999;319(7224):1529-1533.
Objective
To evaluate the cost utility of interferon beta-1b in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.
Design
Population based cost utility model (healthcare perspective). Data on use of health services were obtained from case records and routine morbidity data and utility values from a EuroQol survey. Local and published costs were used. Effectiveness was modelled using data on relative risk reductions from a randomised trial of interferon beta-1b.
Setting
Tayside region, 1993-5.
Subjects
132 ambulatory people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.
Main outcome measures
Cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Rate of relapse and proportion becoming wheelchair dependent over three years.
Results
The number needed to treat for 30 months to delay time to wheelchair dependence in one person by nine months was 18 (95% confidence interval 5 to 26). For every 18 people treated for 30 months, six relapses would be prevented, gaining 0.397 discounted QALYs. The cost per QALY gained was £1 024 667 (£276 466 to £1 485 499). If treatment was restricted to patients attending neurology services, the number needed to treat was 14 (cost per QALY gained £833 514 (£161 358 to ∞)). The cost per QALY gained was not sensitive to changes in cost which took account of a societal perspective.
Conclusions
The cost per QALY gained from interferon beta is high because of the high drug cost and modest clinical effect. Resources could be used more efficiently elsewhere.
.
Key messagesSecondary progressive multiple sclerosis is a potentially disabling disorder associated with low health related quality of lifeInterferon beta-1b may reduce rate of relapseThe benefits of interferon beta-1b treatment are very low relative to its costCost utility analysis estimated a cost of over £1m per QALY gainedCost per QALY was not affected by taking into account the costs of careMoney would be better spent on other ways of improving quality of life than on interferon beta
PMCID: PMC28295  PMID: 10591710
21.  Cost-effective Screening for Acute Hepatitis C Virus Infection in HIV-Infected Men Who Have Sex With Men 
We investigated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of screening for acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in human immunodeficiency virus-infected men who have sex with men. One-time screening at enrollment in care was never optimal. Depending on HCV infection incidence, regular screening with liver function tests was cost-effective.
Background. We used a Monte Carlo computer simulation to estimate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of screening for acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected men who have sex with men.
Methods. One-time screening for prevalent HCV infection was performed at the time of enrollment in care, followed by either symptom-based screening, screening with liver function tests (LFTs), HCV antibody (Ab) screening, or HCV RNA screening in various combinations and intervals. We considered both treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin (PEG/RBV) alone and with an HCV protease inhibitor. Outcome measures were life expectancy, quality-adjusted life expectancy, direct medical costs, and cost-effectiveness, assuming a societal willingness to pay $100 000 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained.
Results. All strategies increased life expectancy (from 0.49 to 0.94 life-months), quality-adjusted life expectancy (from 0.47 to 1.00 quality-adjusted life-months), and costs (from $1900 to $7600), compared with symptom-based screening. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of screening with 6-month LFTs and a 12-month HCV Ab test, compared with symptom-based screening, was $43 700/QALY (for PEG/RBV alone) and $57 800/QALY (for PEG/RBV plus HCV protease inhibitor). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of screening with 3-month LFTs, compared with 6-month LFTs plus a 12-month HCV Ab test, was $129 700/QALY (for PEG/RBV alone) and $229 900/QALY (for PEG/RBV plus HCV protease inhibitor). With HCV protease inhibitor–based therapy, screening with 6-month LFTs and a 12-month HCV Ab test was the optimal strategy when the HCV infection incidence was ≤1.25 cases/100 person-years. The 3-month LFT strategy was optimal when the incidence was >1.25 cases/100 person-years.
Conclusions. Screening for acute HCV infection in HIV-infected MSM prolongs life expectancy and is cost-effective. Depending on incidence, regular screening with LFTs, with or without an HCV Ab test, is the optimal strategy.
doi:10.1093/cid/cis382
PMCID: PMC3403839  PMID: 22491339
22.  Cost-Effectiveness of Different Screening Strategies for Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women 
Annals of Internal Medicine  2011;155(11):751-761.
Background
Best strategies to screen postmenopausal women for osteoporosis are not clear.
Objective
To identify the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of various screening strategies.
Design
Individual-level state-transition cost-effectiveness model.
Data Sources
Published literature.
Target Population
U.S. women age 55 years and older.
Time Horizon
Lifetime.
Perspective
Payer.
Interventions
Multiple osteoporosis screening strategies composed of alternative tests, initiation ages, treatment thresholds, and rescreening intervals. Evaluated tests included central dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA); calcaneal quantitative ultrasonography (QUS), and the Simple Calculated Osteoporosis Risk Estimation (SCORE) tool. Oral bisphosphonate treatment was assumed.
Outcome Measures
Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (2010 U.S. dollars per quality-adjusted life-year [QALY] gained).
Results of Base-Case Analysis
At all evaluated ages, screening was superior to not screening. In general, quality-adjusted life-days gained with screening tended to increase with age. At all initiation ages, the best strategy with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of less than $50 000 per QALY was DXA screening with a T-score threshold of −2.5 or less for treatment and with follow-up screening every 5 years (that is, DXA −2.5 with rescreening every 5 years). Across screening initiation ages, the best strategy with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of less than $50 000 per QALY was initiation of screening at age 55 years by using DXA −2.5, with rescreening every 5 years. The best strategy with an ICER of less than $100 000 per QALY was initiation of screening at age 55 years by using DXA with a T-score threshold of −2.0 or less for treatment and then rescreening every 10 years. No other strategy that involved treatment of women with osteopenia (low bone mass) was cost-effective under the assumption of a willingness-to-pay of $100 000/QALY. Many other strategies, including strategies with SCORE or QUS prescreening, were also cost-effective, and in general the differences in effectiveness and costs between evaluated strategies was small.
Results of Sensitivity Analysis
Probabilistic sensitivity analysis did not reveal a consistently superior strategy.
Limitations
Data were primarily from white women. Screening initiation ages younger than 55 years were not examined. It was assumed that each woman identified for treatment was offered oral bisphosphonate therapy, with a base-case adherence rate of 50% and a 5-year on/off treatment pattern. Only osteoporotic fractures of the hip, vertebrae, and wrist were modeled.
Conclusions
Many strategies for postmenopausal osteoporosis screening are effective and cost-effective, including strategies involving screening initiation at age 55. No one single strategy is clearly best.
Primary Funding Source
The National Center for Research Resources.
doi:10.1059/0003-4819-155-11-201112060-00007
PMCID: PMC3318923  PMID: 22147714
23.  A cost-effectiveness analysis of an in-hospital clinical pharmacist service 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000329.
Objective
A randomised controlled study performed from 2007 to 2008 showed beneficial effects of a composite clinical pharmacist service as regards a simple health status instrument. The present study aimed to evaluate if the intervention was cost-effective when evaluated in a decision-theoretic model.
Design
A piggyback cost-effectiveness analysis from the healthcare perspective.
Setting
Two internal medicine wards at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.
Participants
Of 345 patients (61% women; median age: 82 years; 181 control and 164 intervention patients), 240 patients (62% women, 82 years; 124 control and 116 intervention patients) had EuroQol-5 dimensions (EQ-5D) utility scores at baseline and at 6-month follow-up.
Outcome measures
Costs during a 6-month follow-up period in all patients and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) in patients with EQ-5D utility scores. Inpatient and outpatient care was extracted from the VEGA database. Drug costs were extracted from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register. A probabilistic analysis was performed to characterise uncertainty in the cost-effectiveness model.
Results
No significant difference in costs between the randomisation groups was found; the mean total costs per individual±SD, intervention costs included, were €10 748±13 799 (intervention patients) and €10 344±14 728 (control patients) (p=0.79). For patients in the cost-effectiveness analysis, the corresponding costs were €10 912±13 999 and €9290±12 885. Intervention patients gained an additional 0.0051 QALYs (unadjusted) and 0.0035 QALYs (adjusted for baseline EQ-5D utility score). These figures result in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of €316 243 per unadjusted QALY and €463 371 per adjusted QALY. The probabilistic uncertainty analysis revealed that, at a willingness-to-pay of €50 000/QALY, the probability that the intervention was cost-effective was approximately 0.2.
Conclusions
The present study reveals that an intervention designed like this one is probably not cost-effective. The study thus illustrates that the complexity of healthcare requires thorough health economics evaluations rather than simplistic interpretation of data.
Article summary
Article focus
Clinical pharmacist services have been shown beneficial for patient health and healthcare costs, although results are inconsistent. In the present article, we present combined data on costs and health outcomes for a composite clinical pharmacist service.
Key messages
Although our composite clinical pharmacist service has previously been shown beneficial as regards a simple health status instrument, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio per QALY was high, more than €460 000 in the base case and more than €100 000 in most sensitivity analyses.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This study is the first one to provide data on costs per QALY for an in-hospital intervention aimed to improve drug treatment. An important limitation may be that the pharmacists acted like external consultants rather than an integrated part in healthcare, and further research on cost-effectiveness of pharmacist services may be called for.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000329
PMCID: PMC3253415  PMID: 22223840
24.  Genetic Testing Strategies in Newly Diagnosed Endometrial Cancer Patients Aimed at Reducing Morbidity or Mortality from Lynch Syndrome in the Index Case or Her Relatives 
PLoS Currents  2013;5:ecurrents.eogt.b59a6e84f27c536e50db4e46aa26309c.
Endometrial cancer is the first malignancy in 50% of women with Lynch syndrome, an autosomal dominant cancer-prone syndrome caused by germline mutations in genes encoding components of the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) pathway. These women (2-4% of all those with endometrial cancer) are at risk of metachronous colorectal cancer and other Lynch syndrome-associated cancers, and their first-degree relatives are at 50% risk of Lynch syndrome. Testing all women newly diagnosed with endometrial cancer for Lynch syndrome may have clinical utility for the index case and her relatives by alerting them to the benefits of surveillance and preventive options, primarily for colorectal cancer. The strategy involves offering germline DNA mutation testing to those whose tumour shows loss-of-function of MMR protein(s) when analysed for microsatellite instability (MSI) and/or by immunohistochemisty (IHC). In endometrial tumours from unselected patients, MSI and IHC have a sensitivity of 80-100% and specificity of 60-80% for detecting a mutation in an MMR gene, though the number of suitable studies for determining clinical validity is small. The clinical validity of strategies to exclude those with false-positive tumour test results due to somatic hypermethylation of the MLH1 gene promoter has not been determined. Options include direct methylation testing, and excluding those over the age of 60 who have no concerning family history or clinical features. The clinical utility of Lynch syndrome testing for the index case depends on her age and the MMR gene mutated: the net benefit is lower for those diagnosed at older ages and with less-penetrant MSH6 mutations. To date, women with these features are the majority of those diagnosed through screening unselected endometrial cancer patients but the number of studies is small. Similarly, clinical utility to relatives of the index case is higher if the family’s mutation is in MLH1 or MSH2 than for MSH6 or PMS2. Gaps in current evidence include a need for large, prospective studies on unselected endometrial cancer patients, and for health-economic analysis based on appropriate assumptions.
doi:10.1371/currents.eogt.b59a6e84f27c536e50db4e46aa26309c
PMCID: PMC3775889  PMID: 24056992
25.  TNF inhibitors in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in clinical practice: costs and outcomes in a follow up study of patients with RA treated with etanercept or infliximab in southern Sweden 
Materials and methods: At four rheumatology units in southern Sweden treatment of 160 consecutive patients with RA was started with either etanercept or infliximab. The economic analysis was based on 116 patients with complete data who received treatment for at least one year. Details on drug treatment, functional capacity, disease activity, and laboratory values were available during the entire treatment. Information on resource use and QoL was collected at baseline and throughout the first year. The cost effectiveness analysis was based on changes in outcome and costs compared with the year before treatment. Cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained was calculated for the entire sample and for patients with different levels of functional disability.
Results: During the first treatment year direct costs were reduced by 40%, but indirect costs did not change substantially. Patients' QoL improved on treatment—utility increased from an average of 0.28 to 0.65. Assuming that improvement occurred after three months' treatment, the cost per QALY gained is estimated as €43 500. If it occurs after six weeks, in parallel with clinical measures, the cost per QALY is €36 900. Sensitivity analysis, including all 160 patients, gave an estimated cost per QALY of €53 600. The cost per QALY increases for patient groups with less severe disease.
Conclusion: For this patient group, cost effectiveness ratios are within the generally accepted threshold of €50 000, but need to be confirmed with larger samples.
doi:10.1136/ard.2003.010629
PMCID: PMC1754715  PMID: 14672883

Results 1-25 (1098053)