Cost-Effectiveness of a Serum Biomarker Test for Risk-Stratified Liver Ultrasound Screening for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Hannah E. Carter, Gary P. Jeffrey, Grant A. Ramm, Louisa G. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Risk-stratified ultrasound screening for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), informed by a serum biomarker test, enables resources to be targeted to patients at the highest risk of developing cancer. We aimed to investigate the cost-effectiveness of risk-stratified screening for HCC in the Australian healthcare system. Methods: A Markov cohort model was constructed to test 3 scenarios for patients with compensated cirrhosis: (1) risk-stratified screening for high-risk patients, (2) all-inclusive screening, and (3) no formal screening. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses were undertaken to determine the impact of uncertainty. Scenario analyses were used to assess cost-effectiveness in Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to determine the impact of including productivity-related costs of mortality. Results: Both risk-stratified screening and all-inclusive screening programs were cost-effective compared with no formal screening, with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of A$39 045 and A$23 090 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY), respectively. All-inclusive screening had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of A$4453 compared with risk-stratified screening and had the highest probability of being cost-effective at a willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold of A$50 000 per QALY. Risk-stratified screening had the highest likelihood of cost-effectiveness when the WTP was between A$25 000 and A$35 000 per QALY. Cost-effectiveness results were further strengthened when applied to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cohort and when productivity costs were included. Conclusions: Cirrhosis population-wide screening for HCC is likely to be cost-effective in Australia. Risk-stratified screening using a serum biomarker test may be cost-effective at lower WTP thresholds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1454-1462
Number of pages9
JournalValue in Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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