The cost-effectiveness of immediate treatment, percutaneous biopsy and active surveillance for the diagnosis of the small solid renal mass: evidence from a Markov model.


Percutaneous biopsy may have a greater role in optimizing the diagnosis of an incidentally detected, 2 cm or less solid renal mass.

Immediate treatment was the highest cost, most effective diagnostic strategy, providing the longest overall survival of 18.53 life-years. Active surveillance was the lowest cost, least effective diagnostic strategy. On cost-effectiveness analysis using a societal willingness to pay threshold of $50,000 active surveillance was the preferred choice at a $75,000 willingness to pay threshold while biopsy and treatment were acceptable ($56,644 and $70,149 per life-year, respectively). When analysis was adjusted for quality of life, biopsy dominated immediate treatment as the most cost-effective diagnostic strategy at $33,840 per quality adjusted life-year gained.

The most effective diagnostic strategy for the very small, incidentally detected solid renal mass is uncertain. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of adding percutaneous biopsy or active surveillance to the diagnosis of a 2 cm or less solid renal mass.

A Markov state transition model was developed to observe a hypothetical cohort of healthy 60-year-old men with an incidentally detected, 2 or less cm solid renal mass, comparing percutaneous biopsy, immediate treatment and active surveillance. The primary outcomes assessed were the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio measured by cost per life-year gained at a willingness to pay threshold of $50,000. Model results were assessed by sensitivity analysis.

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