Background: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is recommended for women at high risk for breast cancer. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of alternative screening strategies involving MRI.
Methods: Using a microsimulation model, we generated life histories under different risk profiles, and assessed the impact of screening on quality-adjusted life-years, and lifetime costs, both discounted at 3%. We compared 12 screening strategies combining annual or biennial MRI with mammography and clinical breast examination (CBE) in intervals of 0.5, 1, or 2 years vs without, and reported incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs).
Results: Based on an ICER threshold of $100 000/QALY, the most cost-effective strategy for women at 25% lifetime risk was to stagger MRI and mammography plus CBE every year from age 30 to 74, yielding ICER $58 400 (compared to biennial MRI alone). At 50% lifetime risk and with 70% reduction in MRI cost, the recommended strategy was to stagger MRI and mammography plus CBE every 6 months (ICER=$84 400). At 75% lifetime risk, the recommended strategy is biennial MRI combined with mammography plus CBE every 6 months (ICER=$62 800).
Conclusions: The high costs of MRI and its lower specificity are limiting factors for annual screening schedule of MRI, except for women at sufficiently high risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research