Targeted surgical prevention of epithelial ovarian cancer is cost effective and saves money in BRCA mutation carrying family members of women with epithelial ovarian cancer. A Canadian model

Gynecol Oncol. 2019 Apr;153(1):87-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2019.01.018. Epub 2019 Jan 28.


Objective: Survival but not cure rates have improved for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), demonstrating the need for effective prevention. Targeted prevention in BRCA carriers by risk reducing surgery (RRS) prevents 80% of cases but incurs additional up-front costs, compensated for by the potential for long term savings from treatment avoidance. Does prevention represent value for money? In the absence of long-term data from prospective trials, determining the cost effectiveness of a prevention strategy requires economic modelling.

Methods: A patient level simulation was developed comparing outcomes between two groups, using Canadian data. Group 1: no mutation testing with treatment if EOC developed. Group 2: cascade testing (index patient BRCA tested and the first and second-degree relatives tested if index patient or first-degree relative respectively were positive) with RRS in carriers. End points were Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio (ICER) and budget impact.

Results: 2786 women with EOC (1 year incidence) had 766 first and 207 second-degree female relatives. BRCA mutations were present in 390 index cases, 366 first and 49 second-degree relatives. With 100% RRS uptake, 59 EOC were prevented and testing dominated no testing (more effective and less costly; ICER -$8919). The total cost saving over 50 years was $2,904,486 (cost saving of $9,660,381 in treatment costs versus increased cost from cascade testing/RRS of $6,755,895). At a threshold of $100,000 per QALY, prevention was cost effective in all modelled scenarios.

Conclusions: Targeted prevention in BRCA mutation carriers not only prevents EOC but is cost-effective compared to treating EOC if it develops.

Keywords: BRCA; Ovarian cancer; Targeted prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / economics*
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / prevention & control*
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / surgery
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1
  • Genes, BRCA2
  • Genetic Testing / economics
  • Genetic Testing / methods
  • Germ-Line Mutation*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Economic*