Cost-effectiveness of endoscopic ultrasonography in the evaluation of proximal rectal cancer

Harewood, Gavin C.; Wiersema, Maurits J.
April 2002
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Apr2002, Vol. 97 Issue 4, p874
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVE:Clinical trials demonstrate the superiority of preoperative over postoperative radiotherapy (XRT) in diminishing rates of local recurrence of transmurally infiltrating (T3/4) rectal tumors. The dosage and cost of preoperative XRT are less than postoperative XRT. The economic and health impact of transrectal endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) on rectal cancer management has not been described. The aim of this study was to apply a decision analysis model to compare the cost-effectiveness of three staging strategies in the evaluation of nonmetastatic proximal rectal cancer: abdominal and pelvic CT versus abdominal CT plus EUS versus abdominal CT plus pelvic magnetic resonance imaging.METHODS:A decision model was designed using DATA Version 3.5 (TreeAge Software, Williamstown, MA), taking as entry criteria nonmetastatic proximal rectal cancer as determined by abdominal CT. In each arm, detection of transmural invasion prompted preoperative XRT. Baseline probabilities were varied through plausible ranges using sensitivity analysis. Cost inputs were based on Medicare professional plus facility fees. Endpoints were cost of treatment per patient and tumor recurrence-free rates. Cost-effectiveness (cost per prevention of local recurrence) and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were calculated.RESULTS:For proximal rectal tumors, evaluation with abdominal CT plus EUS is the most cost-effective approach ($24,468/yr) compared with abdominal CT plus pelvic magnetic resonance imaging ($24,870) and CT alone ($26,076). Both the magnetic resonance imaging- and CT-only approaches were dominated (i.e., more costly and less effective).CONCLUSIONS:Abdominal CT plus EUS is the most cost-effective staging strategy for nonmetastatic proximal rectal cancer. Staging strategies incorporating EUS improve treatment allocation by achieving more accurate T staging, thereby optimizing the benefit of preoperative XRT to more advanced tumors.


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