Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients are at increased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, and preventive care guidelines in IBD favor annual skin examinations. Here we estimate the cost-effectiveness of annual melanoma screening in IBD.
Annual melanoma screening cost an average of $1961 per patient, while no screening cost $81 per patient. Melanoma screening was more effective, gaining 9.2 QALYs per 1000 persons, at a cost of $203,400/QALY gained. Screening every other year was the preferred strategy, gaining 6.2 QALYs per 1000 persons and costing $143,959/QALY. One-way sensitivity analyses suggested the relative risk of melanoma in IBD, melanoma progression, and screening costs were most influential with clinically plausible variation, leading to scenarios costing < $100,000/QALY gained. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses suggested screening every other year was cost-effective in 17.4% of iterations.
Screening for melanoma in IBD patients was effective but expensive. Screening every other year was the most cost-effective strategy. Studies to identify IBD patients at the highest risk of developing melanoma may assist in targeting a prevention program in the most cost-effective manner.
Melanoma screening was defined as receiving annual total body skin examinations starting at age 40 from a dermatologist. Screening was compared to US background total body skin examination rates performed by primary care practitioners. A Markov model was used to estimate intervention costs and effectiveness. Future costs and effectiveness were discounted at 3% per year over a lifetime horizon. Strategies were compared using a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100,000/quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained.