Health benefits and cost effectiveness of endoscopic and nonendoscopic cytosponge screening for Barrett's esophagus

Gastroenterology. 2013 Jan;144(1):62-73.e6. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2012.09.060. Epub 2012 Oct 3.


Background & aims: We developed a model to compare the health benefits and cost effectiveness of screening for Barrett's esophagus by either Cytosponge™ or by conventional endoscopy vs no screening, and to estimate their abilities to reduce mortality from esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Methods: We used microsimulation modeling of a hypothetical cohort of 50-year-old men in the United Kingdom with histories of gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms, assuming the prevalence of Barrett's esophagus to be 8%. Participants were invited to undergo screening by endoscopy or Cytosponge (invitation acceptance rates of 23% and 45%, respectively), and outcomes were compared with those from men who underwent no screening. We estimated the number of incident esophageal adenocarcinoma cases prevented and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) of the different strategies. Patients found to have high-grade dysplasia or intramucosal cancer received endotherapy. Model inputs included data on disease progression, test accuracy, post-treatment status, and surveillance protocols. Costs and benefits were discounted at 3.5% per year. Supplementary and sensitivity analyses comprised esophagectomy management of high-grade dysplasia or intramucosal cancer, screening by ultrathin nasal endoscopy, and different assumptions of uptake of screening invitations for either strategy.

Results: We estimated that compared with no screening, Cytosponge screening followed by treatment of patients with dysplasia or intramucosal cancer costs an additional $240 (95% credible interval, $196-$320) per screening participant and results in a mean gain of 0.015 (95% credible interval, -0.001 to 0.029) QALYs and an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $15.7 thousand (K) per QALY. The respective values for endoscopy were $299 ($261-$367), 0.013 (0.003-0.023) QALYs, and $22.2K. Screening by the Cytosponge followed by treatment of patients with dysplasia or intramucosal cancer would reduce the number of cases of incident symptomatic esophageal adenocarcinoma by 19%, compared with 17% for screening by endoscopy, although this greater benefit for Cytosponge depends on more patients accepting screening by Cytosponge compared with screening by endoscopy.

Conclusions: In a microsimulation model, screening 50-year-old men with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease by Cytosponge is cost effective and would reduce mortality from esophageal adenocarcinoma compared with no screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / prevention & control*
  • Barrett Esophagus / economics*
  • Barrett Esophagus / pathology*
  • Barrett Esophagus / therapy
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Cytodiagnosis / economics
  • Cytodiagnosis / instrumentation
  • Disease Progression
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Esophagoscopy / economics
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / economics*
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Economic
  • Precancerous Conditions / economics
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • United Kingdom