Few studies address the cost of treating prolactinomas. We performed a cost-utility analysis of surgical versus medical treatment for prolactinomas.Materials and Methods
We determined total hospital costs for surgically and medically treated prolactinoma patients. Decision-tree analysis was performed to determine which treatment produced the highest quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). Outcome data were derived from published studies.Results
Average total costs for surgical patients were $19,224 ( ± 18,920). Average cost for the first year of bromocriptine or cabergoline treatment was $3,935 and $6,042, with $2,622 and $4,729 for each additional treatment year. For a patient diagnosed with prolactinoma at 40 years of age, surgery has the lowest lifetime cost ($40,473), followed by bromocriptine ($41,601) and cabergoline ($70,696). Surgery also appears to generate high health state utility and thus more QALYs. In sensitivity analyses, surgery appears to be a cost-effective treatment option for prolactinomas across a range of ages, medical/surgical costs, and medical/surgical response rates, except when surgical cure rates are ≤ 30%.Conclusion
Our single institution analysis suggests that surgery may be a more cost-effective treatment for prolactinomas than medical management for a range of patient ages, costs, and response rates. Direct empirical comparison of QALYs for different treatment strategies is needed to confirm these findings.