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Open Access Research article

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

Malek B Hannouf1, Bin Xie12, Muriel Brackstone34 and Gregory S Zaric15*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

2 Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

3 Department of Oncology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

4 Department of Surgery, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

5 Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond St, London, N6C 1A4, Canada

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Citation and License

BMC Cancer 2012, 12:447  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-447

Published: 2 October 2012

Abstract

Background

A 21-gene recurrence score (RS) assay may inform adjuvant systematic treatment decisions in women with early stage breast cancer. We sought to investigate the cost effectiveness of using the RS-assay versus current clinical practice (CCP) in women with early-stage estrogen- or progesterone-receptor-positive, axilliary lymph-node negative breast cancer (ER+/ PR + LN- ESBC) from the perspective of the Canadian public healthcare system.

Methods

We developed a Markov model to project the lifetime clinical and economic consequences of ESBC. We evaluated adjuvant therapy separately in post- and pre-menopausal women with ER+/ PR + LN- ESBC. We assumed that the RS-assay would reclassify pre- and post-menopausal women among risk levels (low, intermediate and high) and guide adjuvant systematic treatment decisions. The model was parameterized using 7 year follow up data from the Manitoba Cancer Registry, cost data from Manitoba administrative databases, and secondary sources. Costs are presented in 2010 CAD. Future costs and benefits were discounted at 5%.

Results

The RS-assay compared to CCP generated cost-savings in pre-menopausal women and had an ICER of $60,000 per QALY gained in post-menopausal women. The cost effectiveness was most sensitive to the proportion of women classified as intermediate risk by the RS-assay who receive adjuvant chemotherapy and the risk of relapse in the RS-assay model.

Conclusions

The RS-assay is likely to be cost effective in the Canadian healthcare system and should be considered for adoption in women with ER+/ PR + LN- ESBC. However, ongoing assessment and validation of the assay in real-world clinical practice is warranted.

Keywords:
Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Cost-effectiveness; 21-gene recurrence score assay