Importance: The US National Lung Screening Trial supports screening for lung cancer among smokers using low-dose computed tomographic (LDCT) scans. The cost-effectiveness of screening in a publically funded health care system remains a concern.
Objective: To assess the cost-effectiveness of LDCT scan screening for lung cancer within the Canadian health care system.
Design, setting, and participants: The Cancer Risk Management Model (CRMM) simulated individual lives within the Canadian population from 2014 to 2034, incorporating cancer risk, disease management, outcome, and cost data. Smokers and former smokers eligible for lung cancer screening (30 pack-year smoking history, ages 55-74 years, for the reference scenario) were modeled, and performance parameters were calibrated to the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST). The reference screening scenario assumes annual scans to age 75 years, 60% participation by 10 years, 70% adherence to screening, and unchanged smoking rates. The CRMM outputs are aggregated, and costs (2008 Canadian dollars) and life-years are discounted 3% annually.
Main outcomes and measures: The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio.
Results: Compared with no screening, the reference scenario saved 51,000 quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) and had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of CaD $52,000/QALY. If smoking history is modeled for 20 or 40 pack-years, incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of CaD $62,000 and CaD $43,000/QALY, respectively, were generated. Changes in participation rates altered life years saved but not the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio, while the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio is sensitive to changes in adherence. An adjunct smoking cessation program improving the quit rate by 22.5% improves the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio to CaD $24,000/QALY.
Conclusions and relevance: Lung cancer screening with LDCT appears cost-effective in the publicly funded Canadian health care system. An adjunct smoking cessation program has the potential to improve outcomes.