To conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis to determine whether stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is a cost-effective therapy compared with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for patients with unresectable colorectal cancer (CRC) liver metastases.
In base case analysis, treatment costs for 3 fractions of SBRT and 1 RFA procedure were $13,000 and $4397, respectively. Median survival was assumed the same for both strategies (25 months). The SBRT costs $8202 more than RFA while gaining 0.05 QALYs, resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $164,660 per QALY gained. In 1-way sensitivity analyses, results were most sensitive to variation of median survival from both treatments. Stereotactic body radiation therapy was economically reasonable if better survival was presumed (>1 month gain) or if used for large tumors (>4 cm).
If equal survival is assumed, SBRT is not cost-effective compared with RFA for inoperable colorectal liver metastases. However, if better local control leads to small survival gains with SBRT, this strategy becomes cost-effective. Ideally, these results should be confirmed with prospective comparative data.
A cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted using a Markov model and 1-month cycle over a lifetime horizon. Transition probabilities, quality of life utilities, and costs associated with SBRT and RFA were captured in the model on the basis of a comprehensive literature review and Medicare reimbursements in 2014. Strategies were compared using the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio, with effectiveness measured in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). To account for model uncertainty, 1-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed. Strategies were evaluated with a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100,000 per QALY gained.