Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Lung Cancer Screening in the United States: A Comparative Modeling Study

Steven D. Criss, Pianpian P. Cao, Mehrad Bastani, Kevin ten Haaf, Yufan Chen, Deirdre F. Sheehan, Erik Blom, Iakovos Toumazis, Jihyoun Jeon, Harry de Koning, Sylvia K Plevritis, Rafael Meza, Chung Yin Kong

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Background: Recommendations vary regarding the maximum age at which to stop lung cancer screening: 80 years according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), 77 years according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and 74 years according to the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST). Objective: To compare the cost-effectiveness of different stopping ages for lung cancer screening. Design: By using shared inputs for smoking behavior, costs, and quality of life, 4 independently developed microsimulation models evaluated the health and cost outcomes of annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). Data Sources: The NLST; Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial; SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) program; Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study; and U.S. Smoking History Generator. Target Population: Current, former, and never-smokers aged 45 years from the 1960 U.S. birth cohort. Time Horizon: 45 years. Perspective: Health care sector. Intervention: Annual LDCT according to NLST, CMS, and USPSTF criteria. Outcome Measures: Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) with a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100 000 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). Results of Base-Case Analysis: The 4 models showed that the NLST, CMS, and USPSTF screening strategies were cost-effective, with ICERs averaging $49 200, $68 600, and $96 700 per QALY, respectively. Increasing the age at which to stop screening resulted in a greater reduction in mortality but also led to higher costs and overdiagnosis rates. Results of Sensitivity Analysis: Probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed that the NLST and CMS strategies had higher probabilities of being cost-effective (98% and 77%, respectively) than the USPSTF strategy (52%). Limitation: Scenarios assumed 100% screening adherence, and models extrapolated beyond clinical trial data. Conclusion: All 3 sets of lung cancer screening criteria represent cost-effective programs. Despite underlying uncertainty, the NLST and CMS screening strategies have high probabilities of being cost-effective.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Article numberM19-0322
Pages (from-to)796-804
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2019

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  • EMC NIHES-02-65-01

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