Objective: Between diagnosis and primary treatment of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), gaps of several weeks exist. Reducing these time intervals may benefit the patient and may lead to a reduction of costs. We explored the cost-effectiveness of early-initiated treatment of patients with suspected advanced-stage EOC compared with that of current treatment.
Methods: A discrete event simulation was used to synthesize all available evidences and to evaluate the health care costs and effects (quality-adjusted life years [QALYs]) of the 2 treatment strategies over lifetime. Overall survival, progression-free survival, health-related quality of life, and costs of the separate events were assumed to remain equal. Other uncertainties were addressed using deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.
Results: The treatment times of current and early-initiated treatment were 27 and 24 weeks, respectively. Early-initiated treatment yielded 3.42 QALYs per patient, for a total expected health care cost of €25,654. Current treatment yielded 3.40 QALYs per patient, for a total expected health care cost of €25,607. This resulted in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of €2592 per QALY gained for early-initiated treatment compared with that for current treatment. For the willingness to pay for €30,000 or more per QALY, early-initiated treatment had a 100% probability of being cost-effective compared with current treatment under the previously mentioned assumptions.
Conclusions: Given the current evidence, early-initiated treatment of patients with suspected advanced-stage EOC leads to additional QALYs and seems to be cost-effective compared with current treatment.