Screening for Melanoma in Men: a Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
Systematic screening skin examination has been proposed to reduce melanoma-related mortality.
To assess the potential effectiveness of screening, in a demographic at high risk of melanoma mortality.
A cohort Markov state-transition model was developed comparing systematic screening versus usual care (no systematic screening). In the base case, we evaluated a sensitivity and specificity of 20% and 85%, respectively, for usual care (incidental detection) and 50% sensitivity and 85% specificity from systematic screening. We examined a wide range of values in sensitivity analyses.
Potential screening strategies applied to a hypothetical population of 10,000 white men from ages 50–75.
Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio, measured in cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY).
Using base case assumptions, screening every 2 years beginning at age 60 reduced melanoma mortality by 20% with a cost-utility of $26,503 per QALY gained. Screening every 2 years beginning at age 50 reduced mortality by 30% with an incremental cost-utility of $67,970 per QALY. Results were sensitive to differences in accuracy of systematic screening versus usual care, and costs of screening, but were generally insensitive to costs of biopsy or treatment.
Assuming moderate differences in accuracy with systematic screening versus usual care, screening for melanoma every 2 years starting at age 50 or 60 may be cost-effective in white men. Results are sensitive to degree of difference in sensitivity with screening compared to usual care. Better studies of the accuracy of systematic screening exams compared with usual care are required to determine whether a trial of screening should be undertaken.
KEY WORDSmelanoma screening Markov model cost-effectiveness
Study concept and design: Adamson, Pignone
Acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of data: All Authors
Drafting of the manuscript: Adamson, Jarmul
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All Authors
Statistical analysis: Jarmul
Obtained funding: Adamson
Administrative, technical, or material support: Adamson
Study supervision: Pignone
This study was exempt from IRB.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Dr. Pignone is a former member of the US Preventive Services Task Force. The views expressed here are his and not necessarily those of the Task Force.
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