Cost-effectiveness of HPV-based cervical cancer screening in the public health system in Nicaragua

Nicole G Campos, Mercy Mvundura, Jose Jeronimo, Francesca Holme, Elisabeth Vodicka, Jane J Kim
BMJ Open 2017 June 15, 7 (6): e015048

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing (versus Papanicolaou (Pap)-based screening) for cervical cancer screening in Nicaragua.

DESIGN: A previously developed Monte Carlo simulation model of the natural history of HPV infection and cervical cancer was calibrated to epidemiological data from Nicaragua. Cost data inputs were derived using a micro-costing approach in Carazo, Chontales and Chinandega departments; test performance data were from a demonstration project in Masaya department.

SETTING: Nicaragua's public health sector facilities.

PARTICIPANTS: Women aged 30-59 years.

INTERVENTIONS: Screening strategies included (1) Pap testing every 3 years, with referral to colposcopy for women with an atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance or worse result ('Pap'); (2) HPV testing every 5 years, with referral to cryotherapy for HPV-positive eligible women (HPV cryotherapy or 'HPV-Cryo'); (3) HPV testing every 5 years, with referral to triage with visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for HPV-positive women ('HPV-VIA'); and (4) HPV testing every 5 years, with referral to Pap testing for HPV-positive women ('HPV-Pap').

OUTCOME MEASURES: Reduction in lifetime risk of cancer and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER; 2015 US$ per year of life saved (YLS)).

RESULTS: HPV-based screening strategies were more effective than Pap testing. HPV-Cryo was the least costly and most effective strategy, reducing lifetime cancer risk by 29.5% and outperforming HPV-VIA, HPV-Pap and Pap only, which reduced cancer risk by 19.4%, 12.2% and 10.8%, respectively. With an ICER of US$320/YLS, HPV-Cryo every 5 years would be very cost-effective using a threshold based on Nicaragua's per capita gross domestic product of US$2090. Findings were robust across sensitivity analyses on test performance, coverage, compliance and cost parameters.

CONCLUSIONS: HPV testing is very cost-effective compared with Pap testing in Nicaragua, due to higher test sensitivity and the relatively lower number of visits required. Increasing compliance with recommended follow-up will further improve the health benefits and value for public health dollars.

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