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24.04.2019 | Review | Ausgabe 2/2019

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 2/2019

Examining the cost-effectiveness of baseline left ventricular function assessment among breast cancer patients undergoing anthracycline-based therapy

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment > Ausgabe 2/2019
Maysa M. Abu-Khalaf, Anton Safonov, Jamie Stratton, Shiyi Wang, Christos Hatzis, Esther Park, Lajos Pusztai, Cary P. Gross, Raymond Russell
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10549-019-05178-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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There is a lack of consensus to guide which breast cancer patients require left ventricular function assessment (LVEF) prior to anthracycline therapy; the cost-effectiveness of screening this patient population has not been previously evaluated.


We performed a retrospective analysis of the Yale Nuclear Cardiology Database, including 702 patients with baseline equilibrium radionuclide angiography (ERNA) scan prior to anthracycline and/or trastuzumab therapy. We sought to examine associations between abnormal baseline LVEF and potential cardiac risk factors. Additionally, we designed a Markov model to determine the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of ERNA screening for women aged 55 with stage I–III breast cancer from a payer perspective over a lifetime horizon.


An abnormal LVEF was observed in 2% (n = 14) of patients. There were no significant associations on multivariate analysis performed on self-reported risk factors. Our analysis showed LVEF screening is cost-effective with ICER of $45,473 per QALY gained. For a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100,000/ QALY, LVEF screening had an 81.9% probability of being cost-effective. Under the same threshold, screening was cost-effective for non-anthracycline cardiotoxicity risk of RR ≤ 0.58, as compared to anthracycline regimens.


Age, preexisting cardiac risk factors and coronary artery disease did not predict a baseline abnormal LVEF. While the prevalence of an abnormal baseline LVEF is low in patients with breast cancer, our results suggest that cardiac screening prior to anthracycline is cost-effective.

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