Three Lymphadenectomy Strategies in Low-Risk Endometrial Carcinoma: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the cost-utility of three lymphadenectomy strategies in the management of low-risk endometrial carcinoma.

METHODS:

A decision analysis model compared three lymphadenectomy strategies in women undergoing minimally invasive surgery for low-risk endometrial carcinoma: 1) routine lymphadenectomy in all patients, 2) selective lymphadenectomy based on intraoperative frozen section criteria, and 3) sentinel lymph node mapping. Costs and outcomes were obtained from published literature and Medicare reimbursement rates. Costs categories consisted of hospital, physician, operating room, pathology, and lymphedema treatment. Effectiveness was defined as 3-year disease-specific survival adjusted for the effect of lymphedema (utility=0.8) on quality of life. A cost-utility analysis was performed comparing the different strategies. Multiple deterministic sensitivity analyses were done.

RESULTS:

In the base-case scenario, routine lymphadenectomy had a cost of $18,041 and an effectiveness of 2.79 quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Selective lymphadenectomy had a cost of $17,036 and an effectiveness of 2.81 QALYs, whereas sentinel lymph node mapping had a cost of $16,401 and an effectiveness of 2.87 QALYs. With a difference of $1,005 and 0.02 QALYs, selective lymphadenectomy was both less costly and more effective than routine lymphadenectomy, dominating it. However, with the lowest cost and highest effectiveness, sentinel lymph node mapping dominated the other modalities and was the most cost-effective strategy. These findings were robust to multiple sensitivity analyses varying the rates of lymphedema and lymphadenectomy, surgical approach (open or minimally invasive surgery), lymphedema utility, and costs. For the estimated 40,000 women undergoing surgery for low-risk endometrial carcinoma each year in the United States, the annual cost of routine lymphadenectomy, selective lymphadenectomy, and sentinel lymph node mapping would be $722 million, $681 million, and $656 million, respectively.

CONCLUSION:

Compared with routine and selective lymphadenectomy, sentinel lymph node mapping had the lowest costs and highest quality-adjusted survival, making it the most cost-effective strategy in the management of low-risk endometrial carcinoma.

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