Impact of Extended Use of Ablation Techniques in Cirrhotic Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Cancers (Basel). 2022 May 26;14(11):2634. doi: 10.3390/cancers14112634.


Background: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the extended use of ablation for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with cirrhosis in an expert ablation center when compared to the non-extended use of ablation in equivalent tertiary care centers.

Methods: Consecutive cirrhotic patients with non-metastatic HCC, no prior treatment, and referred to three tertiary care centers between 2012 and 2016 were retrospectively identified. The Bondy group, including all of the patients treated at Jean Verdier Hospital, where the extended use of ablation is routinely performed, was compared to the standard of care (SOC) group, including all of the patients treated at the Beaujon and Mondor Hospitals, using propensity score matching. A cost-effectiveness analysis was carried out from the perspective of French health insurance using a Markov model on a lifetime horizon.

Results: 532 patients were matched. The Bondy group led to incremental discounted lifetime effects of 0.8 life-years gained (LYG) (95% confidence interval: 0.4, 1.3) and a decrease in lifetime costs of EUR 7288 (USD 8016) (95% confidence interval: EUR 5730 [USD 6303], EUR 10,620 [USD 11,682]) per patient, compared with the SOC group, resulting in a dominant mean incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER). A compliance with the Barcelona Clinic Liver Classification (BCLC) guidelines for earlier stage contributed to the greater part of the ICER.

Conclusion: The extended use of ablation in cirrhotic patients with HCC was more effective and less expensive than the non-extended use of the ablation strategy.

Keywords: TACE; cost-effectiveness; hepatocellular carcinoma; percutaneous ablation; treatment management.

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the French Radiology Society (Grant Research 2017, N° 20170712).