Recommendations about funding of interventions through the full spectrum of the disease often have been made in isolation. The authors of this report optimized budgetary allocations by comparing cost-effectiveness data for different preventive and management strategies throughout the disease course for breast cancer in Hong Kong (HK) Chinese women.
Nesting a state-transition Markov model within a generalized cost-effectiveness analytic framework, costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were compared to estimate average cost-effectiveness ratios for the following interventions at the population level: biennial mass mammography (ages 40-69 years or ages 40–79 years), reduced waiting time for postoperative radiotherapy (by 15% or by 25%), adjuvant endocrine therapy (either upfront aromatase inhibitor [AI] therapy or sequentially with tamoxifen followed by AI) in postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive disease, targeted immunotherapy in those with tumors that over express human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, and enhanced palliative services (either at home or as an inpatient). Usual care for eligible patients in the public sector was the comparator.
In descending order, the optimal allocation of additional resources for breast cancer would be the following: a 25% reduction in waiting time for postoperative radiotherapy (in US dollars: $5000 per QALY); enhanced, home-based palliative care ($7105 per QALY); adjuvant, sequential endocrine therapy ($17,963 per QALY); targeted immunotherapy ($62,092 per QALY); and mass mammography screening of women ages 40 to 69 years ($72,576 per QALY).
Given the lower disease risk and different age profiles of patients in HK Chinese, among other newly emergent and emerging economies with similar transitioning epidemiologic profiles, the current findings provided direct evidence to support policy decisions that may be dissimilar to current Western practice. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.