Cost-Effectiveness of the International Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Guideline Harmonization Group Screening Guidelines to Prevent Heart Failure in Survivors of Childhood Cancer

J Clin Oncol. 2020 Nov 20;38(33):3851-3862. doi: 10.1200/JCO.20.00418. Epub 2020 Aug 14.


Purpose: Survivors of childhood cancer treated with anthracyclines and/or chest-directed radiation are at increased risk for heart failure (HF). The International Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Guideline Harmonization Group (IGHG) recommends risk-based screening echocardiograms, but evidence supporting its frequency and cost-effectiveness is limited.

Patients and methods: Using the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and St Jude Lifetime Cohort, we developed a microsimulation model of the clinical course of HF. We estimated long-term health outcomes and economic impact of screening according to IGHG-defined risk groups (low [doxorubicin-equivalent anthracycline dose of 1-99 mg/m2 and/or radiotherapy < 15 Gy], moderate [100 to < 250 mg/m2 or 15 to < 35 Gy], or high [≥ 250 mg/m2 or ≥ 35 Gy or both ≥ 100 mg/m2 and ≥ 15 Gy]). We compared 1-, 2-, 5-, and 10-year interval-based screening with no screening. Screening performance and treatment effectiveness were estimated based on published studies. Costs and quality-of-life weights were based on national averages and published reports. Outcomes included lifetime HF risk, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), lifetime costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). Strategies with ICERs < $100,000 per QALY gained were considered cost-effective.

Results: Among the IGHG risk groups, cumulative lifetime risks of HF without screening were 36.7% (high risk), 24.7% (moderate risk), and 16.9% (low risk). Routine screening reduced this risk by 4% to 11%, depending on frequency. Screening every 2, 5, and 10 years was cost-effective for high-risk survivors, and every 5 and 10 years for moderate-risk survivors. In contrast, ICERs were > $175,000 per QALY gained for all strategies for low-risk survivors, representing approximately 40% of those for whom screening is currently recommended.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that refinement of recommended screening strategies for IGHG high- and low-risk survivors is needed, including careful reconsideration of discontinuing asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction and HF screening in low-risk survivors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Echocardiography / economics
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Failure / economics
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality of Life
  • Young Adult