Cost-effectiveness analysis of a 2-stage community-based hepatocellular carcinoma screening program in Taiwan
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been ranked as the top cause of death due to neoplasm malignancy in Taiwan for years. The high incidence of HCC in Taiwan is primarily attributed to high prevalence of hepatitis viral infection. Screening the subjects with liver cirrhosis for HCC was widely recommended by many previous studies. The latest practice guideline for management of HCC released by the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) in 2005 recommended that the high risk groups, including cirrhotic patients, chronic HBV/HCV carriers, and subjects with family history of HCC and etc., should undergo surveillance. This study aims to investigate (1) whether the HCC screening program can prolong survival period of the high risk group, (2) what is the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of the HCC screening program in Taiwan, as compared with a non-screening strategy from the payer perspective, (3) which high risk group has the lowest ICER for the HCC screening program from the insurer's perspective, in comparison with no screening strategy of each group, and (4) the estimated total cost of providing the HCC screening program to all high risk groups. The high risk subjects in the study were identified from the communities with high prevalence of hepatitis viral infection and classified into three groups (cirrhosis group, early cirrhosis group, and no cirrhosis group) at different levels of risk to HCC by status of liver disease at the time of enrollment. The repeated ultrasound screenings at an interval of 3, 6, and 12 months were applied to cirrhosis group, early cirrhosis group, and no cirrhosis group, respectively. The Markov-based decision model was constructed to simulate progression of HCC and to estimate the ICER for each group of subjects. The screening group had longer survival in the statistical results and the model outcomes. Owing to the low HCC incidence rate in the community-based screening program, screening services only have limited effect on survival of the screening group. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of the HCC screening program was $3834 per year of life saved, in comparison with the non-screening strategy. The estimated total cost of each group from the screening model over 13.5 years approximately consumes 0.13%, 1.06%, and 0.71% of total amount of adjusted National Health Expenditure from Jan 1992 to Jun 2005. The subjects at high risk of developing HCC to undergo repeated ultrasound screenings had longer survival than those without screening, but screening was not the only factor to cause longer survival in the screening group. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of the 2-stage community-based HCC screening program in Taiwan was small. The HCC screening program was worthy of investment in Taiwan. In comparison with early cirrhosis group and no cirrhosis group, cirrhosis group has the lowest ICER when the screening period is less than 19 years. The estimated total cost of providing the HCC screening program to all high risk groups consumes approximately 1.90% of total amount of adjusted 13.5-year NHE in Taiwan.
Chang, Yaojen, "Cost-effectiveness analysis of a 2-stage community-based hepatocellular carcinoma screening program in Taiwan" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3315984.