Cost-effectiveness of a cervical screening program with human papillomavirus vaccine

Elizaveta Sopina, Toni Ashton
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care 2011, 27 (4): 290-7

OBJECTIVES: Recent introduction of a quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for girls in New Zealand is expected to decrease the incidence of HPV infection as well as resultant cytological abnormalities and cervical cancer. This may affect the cost-effectiveness of the national cervical screening program by reducing the incidence of lesions detected. This study investigates the cost-effectiveness of the current cervical screening policy with and without the HPV vaccine and compares these results with the cost-effectiveness of a range of other screening strategies.

METHODS: A Markov state-transition model was built based on the natural history of HPV and cervical carcinogenesis. The model followed a hypothetical cohort of girls from 12 years to 85 years of age or death, through screening and treatment pathways. The model compared a "no vaccine and current screening" strategy with a selection of screening strategies with different age ranges and frequency intervals.

RESULTS: The most cost-effective cervical screening strategy in the presence of the HPV vaccine would be screening women aged 30-60 every 5 years. Moving to this screening strategy from the base case of no vaccine and the current New Zealand strategy of screening women aged 20-69 every 3 years is predicted to have an incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year gained of NZ$9,841 (€4,428).

CONCLUSIONS: Reducing screening intensity from 3 to 5 years as well as narrowing the screening age range for the vaccinated cohort once they reach mid-twenties is recommended. The importance of achieving a high vaccine uptake in New Zealand remains high.

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