Comparative effectiveness of screening and prevention strategies among BRCA1/2-affected mutation carriers

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Feb;125(3):837-47. doi: 10.1007/s10549-010-1043-4. Epub 2010 Jul 20.


Comparative effectiveness research has become an integral part of health care planning in most developed countries. In a simulated cohort of women, aged 30-65, who tested positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, we compared outcomes of mammography with and without MRI, prophylactic oophorectomy with and without mastectomy, mastectomy alone, and chemoprevention.

Methods: Using Treeage 9.02 software, we developed Markov models with 25,000 Monte Carlo simulations and conducted probabilistic sensitivity analysis. We based mutation penetrance rates, breast and ovarian cancer incidence, and mortality rates, and costs in terms of 2009 dollars, on published studies and data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End RESULTS (SEER) Program and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. We used preference ratings obtained from mutation carriers and controls to adjust survival for quality of life (QALYs).

Results: For BRCA1 mutation carriers, prophylactic oophorectomy at $1,741 per QALY, was more cost effective than both surgeries and dominated all other interventions. For BRCA2 carriers, prophylactic oophorectomy, at $4,587 per QALY, was more cost effective than both surgeries. Without quality adjustment, both mastectomy and BSO surgeries dominated all other interventions. In all simulations, preventive surgeries or chemoprevention dominated or were more cost effective than screening because screening modalities were costly.

Conclusion: Our analysis suggested that among BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, prophylactic surgery would dominate or be cost effective compared to chemoprevention and screening. Annual screening with MRI and mammography was the most effective strategy because it was associated with the longest quality-adjusted survival, but it was also very expensive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Early Detection of Cancer / economics
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1*
  • Genes, BRCA2*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Heterozygote*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Mammography / methods
  • Mastectomy / methods
  • Mutation*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*