Investigating postmenopausal bleeding for endometrial cancer: cost-effectiveness of initial diagnostic strategies

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the most cost-effective outpatient testing strategy for diagnosing endometrial cancer in women with postmenopausal bleeding (PMB).

Design

Decision analysis modelling.

Population

Women with postmenopausal bleeding.

Methods

A decision analytic model was constructed to reflect current service provision, which evaluated 12 diagnostic strategies using endometrial biopsy (EB), ultrasonography (USS) (4- and 5-mm endometrial thickness cutoff) and hysteroscopy. Diagnostic probability estimates were derived from systematic quantitative reviews, clinical outcomes from published literature and cost estimates from local and NHS sources.

Main outcome measures

The cost per additional life year gained (£/LYG) was determined and compared for each diagnostic strategy, and sensitivity analyses were performed.

Results

Compared with carrying out no initial investigation, a strategy based on initial diagnosis with USS using a 5-mm cutoff was the least expensive (£11 470/LYG). Initial investigation with EB or USS using a 4-mm cutoff was comparably cost-effective (less than £30 000/LYG versus USS with a 5-mm cutoff) at their most favourable diagnostic performance and at disease prevalence of 10% or more. The strategies involving initial evaluation with test combinations or hysteroscopy alone were not cost-effective.

Conclusions

Women presenting for the first time with PMB should undergo initial evaluation with USS or EB.

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