Biennial lung cancer screening in Canada with smoking cessation—outcomes and cost-effectiveness Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Guidelines recommend low-dose CT (LDCT) screening to detect lung cancer among eligible at-risk individuals. We used the OncoSim model (formerly Cancer Risk Management Model) to compare outcomes and costs between annual and biennial LDCT screening. METHODS: OncoSim incorporates vital statistics, cancer registry data, health survey and utility data, cost, and other data, and simulates individual lives, aggregating outcomes over millions of individuals. Using OncoSim and National Lung Screening Trial eligibility criteria (age 55-74, minimum 30 pack-year smoking history, smoking cessation less than 15 years from time of first screen) and data, we have modeled screening parameters, cancer stage distribution, and mortality shifts for screen diagnosed cancer. Costs (in 2008 Canadian dollars) and quality of life years gained are discounted at 3% annually. RESULTS: Compared with annual LDCT screening, biennial screening used fewer resources, gained fewer life-years (61,000 vs. 77,000), but resulted in very similar quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) (24,000 vs. 23,000) over 20 years. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of annual compared with biennial screening was $54,000-$4.8 million/QALY gained. Average incremental CT scan use in biennial screening was 52% of that in annual screening. A smoking cessation intervention decreased the average cost-effectiveness ratio in most scenarios by half. CONCLUSIONS: Over 20 years, biennial LDCT screening for lung cancer appears to provide similar benefit in terms of QALYs gained to annual screening and is more cost-effective. Further study of biennial screening should be undertaken in population screening programs. A smoking cessation program should be integrated into either screening strategy.


  • Goffin, John
  • Flanagan, William M
  • Miller, Anthony B
  • Fitzgerald, Natalie R
  • Memon, Saima
  • Wolfson, Michael C
  • Evans, William K

publication date

  • November 2016

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