A systematic literature review of health state utility values in head and neck cancer

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2017 Sep 2;15(1):174. doi: 10.1186/s12955-017-0748-z.


Background: Health state utility values (HSUVs) are essential parameters in model-based economic evaluations. This study systematically identifies HSUVs in head and neck cancer and provides guidance for selecting them from a growing body of health-related quality of life studies.

Methods: We systematically reviewed the published literature by searching PubMed, EMBASE and The Cochrane Library using a pre-defined combination of keywords. The Tufts Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Registry and the School of Health and Related Research Health Utilities Database (ScHARRHUD) specifically containing health utilities were also queried, in addition to the Health Economics Research Centre database of mapping studies. Studies were considered for inclusion if reporting original HSUVs assessed using established techniques. The characteristics of each study including country, design, sample size, cancer subsite addressed and demographics of responders were summarized narratively using a data extraction form. Quality scoring and critical appraisal of the included studies were performed based on published recommendations.

Results: Of a total 1048 records identified by the search, 28 studies qualified for data extraction and 346 unique HSUVs were retrieved from them. HSUVs were estimated using direct methods (e.g. standard gamble; n = 10 studies), multi-attribute utility instruments (MAUIs; n = 13) and mapping techniques (n = 3); two studies adopted both direct and indirect approaches. Within the MAUIs, the EuroQol 5-dimension questionnaire (EQ-5D) was the most frequently used (n = 11), followed by the Health Utility Index Mark 3 (HUI3; n = 2), the 15D (n = 2) and the Short Form-Six Dimension (SF-6D; n = 1). Different methods and types of responders (i.e. patients, healthy subjects, clinical experts) influenced the magnitude of HSUVs for comparable health states. Only one mapping study developed an original algorithm using head and neck cancer data. The identified studies were considered of intermediate quality.

Discussion: This review provides a dataset of HSUVs systematically retrieved from published studies in head and neck cancer. There is currently a lack of research for some disease phases including recurrent and metastatic cancer, and treatment-related complications. In selecting HSUVs for cost-effectiveness modeling purposes, preference should be given to EQ-5D utility values; however, mapping to EQ-5D is a potentially valuable technique that should be further developed in this cancer population.

Keywords: Head and neck cancer (HNC); Health state utility values (HSUVs); Health-related quality of life (HRQoL); Multi-attribute utility instruments (MAUIs); Standard gamble (SG); Systematic literature review; Time trade-off (TTO).

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / economics
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Models, Economic
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / statistics & numerical data