Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the availability and consistency of economic evidence for the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of colorectal cancer.
Methods: A systematic review of UK economic evaluations of colorectal cancer interventions was undertaken. Searches were undertaken across ten electronic databases. Studies were critically appraised through reference to a conceptual model of UK colorectal cancer services.
Results: Forty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria. There is a substantial economic evidence base surrounding population-level colorectal screening, surgical procedures, and cytotoxic therapies for the adjuvant and palliative treatment of colorectal cancer. There is limited evidence concerning the diagnosis of suspected colorectal cancer, curative treatments for metastatic disease and follow-up regimens for nonmetastatic disease. No studies were identified relating to the economics of radiotherapy, surveillance of increased-risk groups, end-of-life care, or the management of hereditary colorectal cancer. Where evidence is available, studies are subject to important differences concerning treatment options, decision criteria, and incongruent assumptions concerning the disease and its management.
Conclusions: Across many aspects of the colorectal cancer service, current practice appears to have emerged without the consideration or support of economic evidence. There is a need to develop a common understanding how colorectal cancer models should be structured and implemented.