Cost-Effectiveness of 21 Alternative Cervical Cancer Screening Strategies


Anderson Chuck, Health Economist and Manager, Institute of Health Economics—Decision Analytic Modeling Unit, 1200, 10405 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3N4, Canada. E-mail:


Objectives:  The aim of this study is to assess the cost-effectiveness of 21 alternative cervical cancer screening (CCS) strategies.

Methods:  A cohort simulation model was developed to determine from a health systems perspective the cost-effectiveness of the 21 alternative CCS strategies that incorporated combinations of Papanicolaou's smear test (PAP), liquid-based cytology (LBC) or human papillomavirus deoxyribonucleic acid (HPV-DNA) testing. The model was calibrated to categorize total costs into four budgetary authorities: testing, physician, inpatient, and outpatient services. Within each category, alternative screening strategies were contrasted in terms of their cost impacts and the percent change calculated within each category. Epidemiologic data and costs were derived from administrative health databases. Estimates of test characteristics and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were derived from available literature.

Results:  Three-year screening with PAP and HPV-DNA triage testing for women older than 30 years of age (3-year PAP + HPV + PAP-age) is less costly and more effective saving $16,078 per additional QALY gained. Although there was an associated net cost decrease of 4.2% driven by a reduction in testing and physician costs of 22.1% and 18.6%, respectively, there is a cost increase of 0.8% and 27.7% in inpatient and outpatient services, respectively.

Conclusion:  There is economic evidence to support adopting 3-year PAP + HPV + PAP-age. Budgetary resources can potentially be shifted from testing and physician services to fund the additional resource requirements for inpatient and outpatient services.