The cost-effectiveness of active surveillance compared to watchful waiting and radical prostatectomy for low risk localised prostate cancer

Radical prostatectomy is the most common treatment for localised prostate cancer in New Zealand. Active surveillance was introduced to prevent overtreatment and reduce costs while preserving the option of radical prostatectomy. This study aims to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of active surveillance compared to watchful waiting and radical prostatectomy.

Markov models were constructed to estimate the life-time cost-effectiveness of active surveillance compared to watchful waiting and radical prostatectomy for low risk localised prostate cancer patients aged 45-70 years, using national datasets in New Zealand and published studies including the SPCG-4 study. This study was from the perspective of the Ministry of Health in New Zealand.

Radical prostatectomy is less costly than active surveillance in men aged 45-55 years with low risk localised prostate cancer, but more costly for men aged 60-70 years. Scenario analyses demonstrated significant uncertainty as to the most cost-effective option in all age groups because of the unavailability of good quality of life data for men under active surveillance. Uncertainties around the likelihood of having radical prostatectomy when managed with active surveillance also affect the cost-effectiveness of active surveillance against radical prostatectomy.

Active surveillance is less likely to be cost-effective compared to radical prostatectomy for younger men diagnosed with low risk localised prostate cancer. The cost-effectiveness of active surveillance compared to radical prostatectomy is critically dependent on the 'trigger' for radical prostatectomy and the quality of life in men on active surveillance. Research on the latter would be beneficial.

BMC cancer. 2017 Aug 08*** epublish ***

Chunhuan Lao, Richard Edlin, Paul Rouse, Charis Brown, Michael Holmes, Peter Gilling, Ross Lawrenson

National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, The University of Waikato, Level 3 Hockin building, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, 3240, New Zealand. ., School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand., The University of Auckland Business School, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand., National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand., Urology Department, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand., Department of Urology, Tauranga Hospital, Tauranga, New Zealand.

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