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Due to its epidemiological relevance, several studies have been performed to assess the cost-effectiveness of diagnostic tests and treatments in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients.
We reviewed economic evaluations on diagnosis of inherited CRC-syndromes and genetic tests for the detection of mutations associated with response to therapeutics.
A systematic literature review was performed by searching the main literature databases for relevant papers on the field, published in the last 5 years.
20 studies were included in the final analysis: 14 investigating the cost-effectiveness of hereditary-CRC screening; 5 evaluating the cost-effectiveness of KRAS mutation assessment before treatment; and 1 study analysing the cost-effectiveness of genetic tests for early-stage CRC patients prognosis. Overall, we found that: (a) screening strategies among CRC patients were more effective than no screening; (b) all the evaluated interventions were cost-saving for certain willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold; and (c) all new CRC patients diagnosed at age 70 or below should be screened. Regarding patients treatment, we found that KRAS testing is economically sustainable only if anticipated in patients with non-metastatic CRC (mCRC), while becoming unsustainable, due to an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) beyond the levels of WTP-threshold, in all others evaluated scenarios.
The poor evidence in the field, combined to the number of assumptions done to perform the models, lead us to a high level of uncertainty on the cost-effectiveness of genetic evaluations in CRC, suggesting that major research is required in order to assess the best combination among detection tests, type of genetic test screening and targeted-therapy.