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Economic analysis of endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) as a tool in the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer in Singapore

  • Shin Yuh Ang (a1), Rachel Woo Yin Tan (a2), Mariko Siyue Koh (a3) and Jeremy Lim (a1)

Abstract

Objectives: Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS), encompassing endobronchial ultrasound transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) and Endobronchial ultrasound transbronchial lung biopsy (EBUS-TBLB) has been proven to be a useful modality in the staging and diagnosis of lung cancer. However, there are limited publications on the cost-effectiveness of EBUS and no economic evaluations relevant to the Singapore setting. An economic evaluation using our hospital's data was used to assess the cost implications of EBUS substituting where clinically appropriate: transthoracic needle aspiration; (TTNA), fluoroscopy-guided transbronchial lung biopsy (TBLB), and mediastinoscopy in the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer.

Methods: Relationship between the clinical and economic implications of alternative modalities was modeled using data inputs that were relevant to the Singapore setting. Two decision analytic models were constructed to evaluate the cost of EBUS compared with TTNA, TBLB, and staging mediastinoscopy. Only direct costs were imputed.

Results: In the base–case analysis, TTNA was the most economical strategy (SGD3,335 = US$2,403) where clinically suitable for the diagnosis of lung cancer as compared to the other options: TBLB (SGD4,499) and EBUS-TBLB (SGD4,857). On the other hand, EBUS-TBNA resulted in expected cost savings of SGD1,214 per positive staging of lung cancer as compared to mediastinoscopy.

Conclusions: The use of EBUS-TBNA could result in cost savings of SGD1,214 per positive staging of lung cancer as compared to mediastinoscopy. Whereas TTNA was the most economical intervention for the diagnosis of lung cancer as compared to the other options, its main limitation lies in its suitability only for peripheral lung lesions and high complication rate.

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