HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Uyei J, Taddei TH, Kaplan DE, Chapko M, Stevens ER, Braithwaite RS. Setting ambitious targets for surveillance and treatment rates among patients with hepatitis C related cirrhosis impacts the cost-effectiveness of hepatocellular cancer surveillance and substantially increases life expectancy: A modeling study. PLoS ONE. 2019 Aug 26; 14(8):e0221614.
Hepatocelluar cancer (HCC) is the leading cause of death among people with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis. Our aim was to determine the optimal surveillance frequency for patients with HCV-related compensated cirrhosis.
We developed a decision analytic Markov model and validated it against data from the Veterans Outcomes and Costs Associated with Liver Disease (VOCAL) study group and published epidemiologic studies. Four strategies of different surveillance intervals were compared: no surveillance and ultrasound surveillance every 12, 6, and 3 months. We estimated lifetime survival, life expectancy, quality adjusted life years (QALY), total costs associated with each strategy, and incremental cost effectiveness ratios. We applied a willingness to pay threshold of $100,000. Analysis was conducted for two scenarios: a scenario reflecting current HCV and HCC surveillance compliance rates and treatment use and an aspirational scenario.
In the current scenario the preferred strategy was 3-month surveillance with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of $7,159/QALY. In the aspirational scenario, 6-month surveillance was preferred with an ICER of $82,807/QALY because treating more people with HCV led to a lower incidence of HCC. Sensitivity analyses suggested that surveillance every 12 months would suffice in the particular circumstance when patients are very likely to return regularly for testing and when appropriate HCV and HCC treatment is readily available. Compared with the current scenario, the aspirational scenario resulted in a 1.87 year gain in life expectancy for the cohort because of large reductions in decompensated cirrhosis and HCC incidence.
HCC surveillance has good value for money for patients with HCV-related compensated cirrhosis. Investments to improve adherence to surveillance should be made when rates are suboptimal. Surveillance every 12 months will suffice when patients are very likely to return regularly for testing and when appropriate HCV and HCC treatment is readily available.