Cost Effectiveness of Screening Patients With Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease for Barrett's Esophagus With a Minimally Invasive Cell Sampling Device

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Sep;15(9):1397-1404.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2017.02.017. Epub 2017 Feb 24.


Background & aims: It is important to identify patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE), the precursor to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Patients with BE usually are identified by endoscopy, which is expensive. The Cytosponge, which collects tissue from the esophagus noninvasively, could be a cost-effective tool for screening individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) who are at increased risk for BE. We developed a model to analyze the cost effectiveness of using the Cytosponge in first-line screening of patients with GERD for BE with endoscopic confirmation, compared with endoscopy screening only.

Methods: We incorporated data from a large clinical trial of Cytosponge performance into 2 validated microsimulation models of EAC progression (the esophageal adenocarcinoma model from Massachusetts General Hospital and the microsimulation screening analysis model from Erasmus University Medical Center). The models were calibrated for US Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results data on EAC incidence and mortality. In each model, we simulated the effect of a 1-time screen for BE in male patients with GERD, 60 years of age, using endoscopy alone or Cytosponge collection of tissue, and analysis for the level of trefoil factor 3 with endoscopic confirmation of positive results. For each strategy we recorded the number of cases of EAC that developed, the number of EAC cases detected with screening by Cytosponge only or by subsequent targeted surveillance, and the number of endoscopies needed. In addition, we recorded the cumulative costs (including indirect costs) incurred and quality-adjusted years of life lived within each strategy, discounted at a rate of 3% per year, and computed incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) among the 3 strategies.

Results: According to the models, screening patients with GERD by Cytosponge with follow-up confirmation of positive results by endoscopy would reduce the cost of screening by 27% to 29% compared with screening by endoscopy, but led to 1.8 to 5.5 (per 1000 patients) fewer quality-adjusted life years. The ICERs for Cytosponge screening compared with no screening ranged from $26,358 to $33,307. For screening patients by endoscopy compared with Cytosponge the ICERs ranged from $107,583 to $330,361. These results were sensitive to Cytosponge cost within a plausible range of values.

Conclusions: In a comparative modeling analysis of screening strategies for BE in patients with GERD, we found Cytosponge screening with endoscopic confirmation to be a cost-effective strategy. The greatest benefit was achieved by endoscopic screening, but with an unfavorable cost margin.

Keywords: Barrett’s Esophagus; Cost Effectiveness; Cytosponge; Esophageal Adenocarcinoma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Barrett Esophagus / diagnosis*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Cytological Techniques / economics
  • Cytological Techniques / methods*
  • Endoscopy / economics
  • Endoscopy / methods
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / economics
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Specimen Handling / economics
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Young Adult