Objectives: The European Code Against Cancer recommends individuals aged ≥50 should participate in colorectal cancer screening. CT-colonography (CTC) is one of several screening tests available. We systematically reviewed evidence on, and identified key factors influencing, cost-effectiveness of CTC screening.
Methods: PubMed, Medline, and the Cochrane library were searched for cost-effectiveness or cost-utility analyses of CTC-based screening, published in English, January 1999 to July 2010. Data was abstracted on setting, model type and horizon, screening scenario(s), comparator(s), participants, uptake, CTC performance and cost, effectiveness, ICERs, and whether extra-colonic findings and medical complications were considered.
Results: Sixteen studies were identified from the United States (n = 11), Canada (n = 2), and France, Italy, and the United Kingdom (1 each). Markov state-transition (n = 14) or microsimulation (n = 2) models were used. Eleven considered direct medical costs only; five included indirect costs. Fourteen compared CTC with no screening; fourteen compared CTC with colonoscopy-based screening; fewer compared CTC with sigmoidoscopy (8) or fecal tests (4). Outcomes assessed were life-years gained/saved (13), QALYs (2), or both (1). Three considered extra-colonic findings; seven considered complications. CTC appeared cost-effective versus no screening and, in general, flexible sigmoidoscopy and fecal occult blood testing. Results were mixed comparing CTC to colonoscopy. Parameters most influencing cost-effectiveness included: CTC costs, screening uptake, threshold for polyp referral, and extra-colonic findings.
Conclusion: Evidence on cost-effectiveness of CTC screening is heterogeneous, due largely to between-study differences in comparators and parameter values. Future studies should: compare CTC with currently favored tests, especially fecal immunochemical tests; consider extra-colonic findings; and conduct comprehensive sensitivity analyses.