Lifetime Burden of Inaccurate HER2 Testing

The Lifetime Economic Burden of Inaccurate HER2 Testing: Estimating the Costs of False-Positive and False-Negative HER2 Test Results in US Patients with Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Authors: Louis P. Garrison, Joseph B. Babigumira, Anthony Masaquel, Bruce C.M. Wang, Deepa Lalla, Melissa Brammer
Journal: Value in Health
Year: 2015

Objectives: To develop a US-level model to estimate the effect of tumor misclassification on health care costs and patient quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).

Methods: Decision analysis was used to estimate the number of patients with early-stage breast cancer (EBC) whose HER2 status was misclassified in 2012. FP results were assumed to generate unnecessary trastuzumab costs and unnecessary cases of trastuzumab-related cardiotoxicity. FN results were assumed to save money on trastuzumab, but with a loss of QALYs and greater risk of disease recurrence and its associated costs. QALYs were valued at $100,000 under a net monetary benefit approach.

Results: Among 226,870 women diagnosed with EBC in 2012, 3.12% (n = 7,070) and 2.18% (n = 4,955) were estimated to have had FP and FN test results, respectively. Approximately 8400 QALYs (discounted, lifetime) were lost among women not receiving trastuzumab because of FN results. The estimated incremental per-patient lifetime burden of FP or FN results was $58,900 and $116,000, respectively. The implied incremental losses to society were $417 million and $575 million, respectively.

Conclusions: HER2 tests result in misclassification and nonoptimal treatment of approximately 12,025 US patients with EBC annually. The total economic societal loss of nearly $1 billion suggests that improvements in HER2 testing accuracy are needed and that further clinical and economic studies are warranted.

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