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Cost-effectiveness analysis of potentially curative and combination treatments for hepatocellular carcinoma with person-level data in a Canadian setting

Thein HH, Isaranuwatchai W, Qiao Y, Wong K, Sapisochin G, Chan KKW, Yoshida EM, Earle CC. Cancer Med. 2017; 6(9):2017-33. Epub 2017 Aug 8.


Patients with early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are potential candidates for curative treatments such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA), surgical resection (SR), or liver transplantation (LT), which have demonstrated a significant survival benefit. We aimed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of curative and combination treatment strategies among patients diagnosed with HCC during 2002-2010. This study used Ontario Cancer Registry-linked administrative data to estimate effectiveness and costs (2013 USD) of the treatment strategies from the healthcare payer's perspective. Multiple imputation by logistic regression was used to handle missing data. A net benefit regression approach of baseline important covariates and propensity score adjustment were used to calculate incremental net benefit to generate incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) and uncertainty measures. Among 2,222 patients diagnosed with HCC, 10.5%, 14.1%, and 10.3% received RFA, SR, and LT monotherapy, respectively; 0.5-3.1% dual treatments; and 0.5% triple treatments. Compared with no treatment (53.2%), transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) + RFA (average $2,465, 95% CI: -$20,000-$36,600/quality-adjusted life years [QALY]) or RFA monotherapy ($15,553, 95% CI: $3,500-$28,500/QALY) appears to be the most cost-effective modality with lowest ICER value. The cost-effectiveness acceptability curve showed that if the relevant threshold was $50,000/QALY, RFA monotherapy and TACE+ RFA would have a cost-effectiveness probability of 100%. Strategies using LT delivered the most additional QALYs and became cost-effective at a threshold of $77,000/QALY. Our findings found that TACE+ RFA dual treatment or RFA monotherapy appears to be the most cost-effective curative treatment for patients with potential early stage of HCC in Ontario. These findings highlight the importance of identifying and measuring differential benefits, costs, and cost-effectiveness of alternative HCC curative treatments in order to evaluate whether they are providing good value for money in the real world.

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