COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Medical economics of whole-body FDG PET in patients suspected of having non-small cell lung carcinoma—reassessment based on the revised Japanese national insurance reimbursement system

Katsumi Abe, Shigeru Kosuda, Shoichi Kusano
Annals of Nuclear Medicine 2003, 17 (8): 649-55
14971606

UNLABELLED: Focusing on the savings expected from the revised Japanese national insurance reimbursement system in the management of patients suspected of having non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC), cost-effectiveness was assessed using decision tree sensitivity analysis on the basis of the 2 competing strategies of whole-body FDG PET (WB-PET) and conventional imaging (CI).

METHODS: A WB-PET strategy that models dependence upon chest FDG PET scan, WB-PET scan, and brain MR imaging with contrast was designed. The cost of a FDG PET examination was updated and determined to be US dollar 625.00. The CI strategy involves a combination of conventional examinations, such as abdominal CT with contrast, brain MR imaging with contrast, and a whole-body bone scan. A simulation of 1,000 patients suspected of having NSCLC (Stages I to IV) was created for each strategy using a decision tree and baselines of other relevant variables cited from published data.

RESULTS: By using the WB-PET strategy in place of the CI strategy for the management of patients suspected of having NSCLC in hospitals with an NSCLC prevalence of 75%, the cost saving (CS) for each patient would be US dollar 697.69 for an M1 prevalence of 20% and US dollar 683.52 for an M1 prevalence of 40%, but the CS gradually decreases as the NSCLC prevalence increases. The break-even point requires less than an 80% prevalence in order for the WB-PET strategy to gain life expectancy (LE) per patient. By using the WB-PET strategy in place of the CI strategy for the management of patients suspected of having NSCLC in hospitals with an NSCLC prevalence of 75%, the gain in LE for each patient would be 0.04 years (11.06 vs. 11.02 years) for an M1 prevalence of 20% and 0.10 years (10.13 vs. 10.03 years) for an M1 prevalence of 40%. The maximum cost of a PET study without losing LE would be US dollar 1322.68 per patient for prevalences of 75% NSCLC and 20% M1 disease.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study quantitatively showed WB-PET, employed in place of CI for managing NSCLC patients, to be cost-effective in the Japanese revised insurance reimbursement system. However, the present cost is very low from the industrial viewpoint.

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