Journal Article
. 2013 Nov;32(2).
doi: 10.1007/s40273-013-0115-9.

Cost effectiveness of a 21-gene recurrence score assay versus Canadian clinical practice in post-menopausal women with early-stage estrogen or progesterone-receptor-positive, axillary lymph-node positive breast cancer

Malek B Hannouf 1 Bin Xie  Muriel Brackstone  Gregory S Zaric  
  • PMID: 24288208
  •     40 References
  •     6 citations


Background: A 21-gene recurrence score (RS) assay provides a method of guiding treatment decisions in women with early-stage breast cancer (ESBC). We investigated the cost effectiveness of using the RS assay versus current clinical practice (CCP) in post-menopausal women with estrogen- or progesterone-receptor-positive, one to three positive axillary lymph-node ESBC from the perspective of the Canadian public healthcare system.

Methods: We developed a decision analytic model to project the lifetime clinical and economic consequences of ESBC. We assumed that the RS assay would classify patients among risk levels (low, intermediate and high) and corresponding adjuvant treatment regimens. The model was parameterized using 7-year follow-up data from the Manitoba Cancer Registry, cost data from Manitoba Health administrative databases and secondary sources. Costs are presented in 2012 Canadian dollars, and future costs and benefits were discounted at 5 %.

Results: In the base case analysis, the RS assay compared with CCP led to an increase of 0.08 quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) and an increase in cost of Can$36.2 per person, resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of Can$464/QALY gained. The ICER was most sensitive to the proportion of women classified to intermediate risk by the RS assay who received adjuvant chemotherapy, and absolute risk of relapse among patients receiving the RS assay.

Conclusions: The RS assay is likely to be cost effective in the Canadian healthcare system. Field evaluations of the assay in this patient population will help reduce uncertainty in clinical guidelines for intermediate-range RS-assay values and specific disease outcomes by the RS assay, which are important drivers of ICER.

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