Cost-Utility Analysis of Cancer Prevention, Treatment, and Control

A Systematic Review
Published:October 12, 2015DOI:


      Substantial innovation related to cancer prevention and treatment has occurred in recent decades. However, these innovations have often come at a significant cost. Cost-utility analysis provides a useful framework to assess if the benefits from innovation are worth the additional cost. This systematic review on published cost-utility analyses related to cancer care is from 1988 through 2013. Analyses were conducted in 2013–2015.

      Evidence acquisition

      This review analyzed data from the Tufts Medical Center Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Registry (, a comprehensive registry with detailed information on 4,339 original cost-utility analyses published in the peer-reviewed medical and economic literature through 2013.

      Evidence synthesis

      There were 721 cancer-related cost-utility analyses published from 1998 through 2013, with roughly 12% of studies focused on primary prevention and 17% focused on secondary prevention. The most often studied cancers were breast cancer (29%); colorectal cancer (11%); and prostate cancer (8%). The median reported incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (in 2014 U.S. dollars) were $25,000 for breast cancer, $24,000 for colorectal cancer, and $34,000 for prostate cancer.


      The current evidence indicates that there are many interventions that are cost effective across cancer sites and levels of prevention. However, the results highlight the relatively small number of cancer cost-utility analyses devoted to primary prevention compared with secondary or tertiary prevention.
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