A Micro-Costing Framework for Circulating Tumor DNA Testing in Dutch Clinical Practice

J Mol Diagn. 2023 Jan;25(1):36-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2022.10.004. Epub 2022 Nov 17.


Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is a promising new biomarker with multiple potential applications in cancer care. Estimating total cost of ctDNA testing is necessary for reimbursement and implementation, but challenging because of variations in workflow. We aimed to develop a micro-costing framework for consistent cost calculation of ctDNA testing. First, the foundation of the framework was built, based on the complete step-wise diagnostic workflow of ctDNA testing. Second, the costing method was set up, including costs for personnel, materials, equipment, overhead, and failures. Third, the framework was evaluated by experts and applied to six case studies, including PCR-, mass spectrometry-, and next-generation sequencing-based platforms, from three Dutch hospitals. The developed ctDNA micro-costing framework includes the diagnostic workflow from blood sample collection to diagnostic test result. The framework was developed from a Dutch perspective and takes testing volume into account. An open access tool is provided to allow for laboratory-specific calculations to explore the total costs of ctDNA testing specific workflow parameters matching the setting of interest. It also allows to straightforwardly assess the impact of alternative prices or assumptions on the cost per sample by simply varying the input parameters. The case studies showed a wide range of costs, from €168 to €7638 ($199 to $9124) per sample, and generated information. These costs are sensitive to the (coverage of) platform, setting, and testing volume.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Circulating Tumor DNA* / genetics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Circulating Tumor DNA
  • Biomarkers, Tumor