Objective: The present study is done to assess the relative cost-effectiveness, optimal initial age, and interscreening interval between primary and secondary prevention strategies for gastric cancer. Methods: Base-case estimates, including variables of natural history, efficacy of intervention, and relevant cost, were derived from two preventive programs targeting a high-risk population. Cost-effectiveness was compared between chemoprevention with 13C urea breath testing followed by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) eradication and high-risk surveillance based on serum pepsinogen measurement and confirmed by endoscopy. The main outcome measure was cost per life-year gained with a 3% annual discount rate. Results: The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for once-only chemoprevention at age 30 years versus no screening was U.S. $17,044 per life-year gained. Eradication of H. pylori at later age or with a periodic scheme yielded a less favorable result. Annual high-risk screening at age of 50 years versus no screening resulted in an ICER of U.S. $29,741 per life-year gained. The ICERs of surveillance did not substantially vary with different initial ages or interscreening intervals. Chemoprevention could be dominated by high-risk surveillance when the initial age was older than 44 years. Otherwise, chemoprevention was more cost-effective than high-risk surveillance, either at ceiling ratios of U.S. $15,762 or up to U.S. $50,000. The relative cost-effectiveness was most sensitive to the infection rate of H. pylori and proportion of early gastric cancer in all detectable cases. Conclusions: Early H. pylori eradication once in lifetime seems more cost-effective than surveillance strategy. However, the choice is still subject to the risk of infection, detectability of early gastric cancer, and timing of intervention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas